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28 April 2006 @ 12:19 pm
Markus Zusak's GETTING THE GIRL (5 stars)  
Markus Zusak's GETTING THE GIRL, the sequel to FIGHTING RUBEN WOLFE, is a five star effort of YA fiction. The story centers on the life of Cameron Wolfe and his hunger, his desire to get a girl, "the" girl, the one who lives in the house up in Glebe he waits outside of. This coming of age story feels so fresh that I swear my eyes started sweating.

Like so many younger brothers, Cameron is trying to grow in the shadow of his brothers, and it's not working for him. His brother Rubes gets all the girls, accomplishes all the heroics, and stands on his own in the world. Cameron can only "want" that. It takes Octavia, not the girl he thought he was waiting for, but the real thing, to enter his life by surprise and plant the seed of strength in Cameron that he didn't know he had soil for.

At first, Cameron's secret journal writings feel too advanced for the kid we meet, but he grows into them, or they grow into him. Either way, they work well to add a deeper level to this already emotionally complex novel. They reveal a maturity in Cameron that feels right when the end of the story comes around.

If our lives truly are made up of moments, as Cameron says they are, that those moments are the pieces of us, then this story is a piece worth carrying with you, one you'll want to applaud with your noble clapping hands. When the last raindrop has fallen, the question it's asking us might be -- "What moments make up that life of yours?"
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dancewriteredenzdream on April 28th, 2006 09:33 pm (UTC)
Very convincing blog here, Jon. I might just have to pick up this book and read it. And I applaud you for reading so many YA books and such a vast variety. It's nice you report on them here.
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on April 28th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
I'd consider it well worth the read. I don't usually read a book twice, but this one I might give another go someday.
dancewriteredenzdream on April 28th, 2006 09:42 pm (UTC)
That says something. I have books I read over and over. Fiction "Bibles" if you will, that inspire or whatever...usually something in the story, characters or voice speaks to me in a way that is very different than an ordinary read, so I understand having "keepers".
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on April 28th, 2006 09:44 pm (UTC)
What makes this a re-reader for me is the following:

1) The voice
2) The depth of his journals - the ideas w/in are worth revisiting
3) The fresh descriptions of typical YA events (i.e. kisses, physical touch, fights)

But I did just finish the book today. Different things from it may stick with me as time ticks on.
Newport2Newport: Weapon of Choicenewport2newport on April 28th, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
You make me want to go out and buy a copy tonight. I've got such a backlog, though, that I wouldn't get to it 'til sometime this summer.

Turn on Channel 4 at 6 tonight, if you can. David and I were interviewed for a story that will be on the local news.
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on April 28th, 2006 10:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'd so love to. Are you going to be taping it? We actually don't get any TV channels in our apartment (a Good thing most of the time), and we canceled cable. Plus, I've been offered tickets to the L.A. Times Book Festival dinner (or something related to the event) tonight where the writer's will be receiving their awards. Fun fun. So please, if you can, tape the interview?

How cool for you and your son.
Newport2Newport: Weapon of Choicenewport2newport on April 28th, 2006 10:54 pm (UTC)
I'll try my hand with the VCR; I'll let you know how that goes. Unless it's hideously embarrassing, that is. It's cool for us, yes, but it's for an important cause.

You should have seen the neighbors when the satellite truck pulled up -- everyone gawking and staring and pointing, and speculating among themselves. LOL.

Have fun tonight. Lucky you! :)

The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on May 12th, 2006 06:37 am (UTC)
How did the video taping go? I still would love to see the broadcast if it taped well. Missed you at PFL.