From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Since The Book Thief (2006) became the hottest book-club item this side of Oprah, fans have no doubt scoured Zusak's earlier catalog, including his two novels about the Wolfes, Fighting Ruben Wolfe (2001) and Getting the Girl (2003). Oddly enough, the first book in the trilogy The Underdog, Zusak's first published novel never received a U.S. publication until its inclusion in this single-volume trilogy. It introduces the Australian Wolfe brothers as they're planning to rob a dentist's office, only to be dumbstruck by the beautiful girl working the front desk. It's pretty much the story of their lives: slum around like hoodlums, invent cool robberies they never pull off, and try to feel good about feeling bad. Though laden with too many meandering dream scenes, the combination of good-natured aimlessness and unsentimental moments of poignant character development will grow on readers page by page. It ends rather abruptly, but hey the two sequels are right there for the reading.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist