(Original review posted on my livejournal account: http://intoyourlungs.livejournal.com/35548.html)Why I Read It:
It's Markus Zusak. In 2009, I read and fell in love with The Book Thief and to this day I consider it one of my all-time favourite books. In 2010, I read I Am The Messenger and I *also* consider that book an all-time favourite.
I actually read this already in 2009 (after I had read The Book Thief) and was considerably underwhelmed. But I've got say, having Underdog
and Fighting Ruben Wolfe
under my belt REALLY influenced my second reading of this novel for the better. It was much more enjoyable, and that was because I got to watch the progression of Cam and Ruben's relationship, as well as Cam's relationship with the rest of his family.
In this book, Cam and Ruben have drifted even further. Ruben is going through girls at an alarming rate (to Cameron) and leaving Cameron behind. But then Ruben dates Octavia, and Cameron is smitten. When Octavia breaks things off with Ruben, her and Cam start developing a relationship that could end Rube and Cameron's friendship. Again, this book fits in seamlessly with the other two, but has a distinct feel to it, largely in part due to the shift in Cameron and Ruben's relationship. I was super sad to see them drifting the way they did, especially after everything they had been through together in the previous two books.
While I was reading this book, it really hit me how this trilogy led into I Am The Messenger, with the theme of being poor and kind of a loser and trying to make something of yourself (something that Ruben and Cameron -- especially Cameron -- face a lot). Cameron and Rube go through a lot of growing up in this book, together and separately, that just felt REAL.
One of my nitpicks though is that at the end of every chapter in this book, there's a tidbit of some of Cameron's creative writing and well... it read like your typical teenage-angsty poetry (but Cameron wrote in prose). BUT, Cameron IS a teenager and he is angsty as hell, so I guess it makes sense. Some of it just made me cringe a bit sometimes. OH, and I thought Cameron was a liiiitle creepy in this one. I mean, Cameron has always been kinda creepy when it came to crushing on girls (he has a tendency to crush on them IMMEDIATELY and makes all kinds of avowals of love to them in his mind and stuff -- it's kinda strange, but I found it easy to ignore because there was so much Awesome Stuff going on that I really liked) but in this book he took it a little far: basically, he goes to this girl's house (whom we first meet in Fighting Ruben Wolfe) and just stands outside and stares. I mean, WTF? CAMERON WHAT ARE YOU DOING? That is creepy and stalkerish.
But really? Those were the only two things that bugged me. I can handle that.