I Am The Messenger by Markus ZusakI Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak

I Am The Messenger

byMarkus Zusak

Paperback | May 9, 2006

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By the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Book Thief, this is a cryptic journey filled with laughter, fists, and love.

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.
That's when the first ace arrives in the mail. That's when Ed becomes the messenger. Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?
This book is a 2005 Michael L. Printz Honor Book and recipient of five starred reviews.

Markus Zusak is the award-winning author of The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger, both Michael L. Printz Honor Books. An international bestseller, The Book Thief has sold over 4.5 million copies in the U.S. alone and has garnered worldwide critical acclaim. The New York Times called it "Brilliant and hugely ambitious. . . . It's the k...
Title:I Am The MessengerFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 8.06 × 5.19 × 0.78 inPublished:May 9, 2006Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0375836675

ISBN - 13:9780375836671

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17


Rated 5 out of 5 by from A keepsake for life! I've read this book twice and would definitely read it again! Love the ease of reading and sarcastic, dry, self-demoting humor throughout the whole book. It hilariously lined up with a lot of my own life at the time when I read it. I need to dig this out from the bookshelf again!
Date published: 2018-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book I read this in high school, great reccomendation!
Date published: 2017-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from unforgettable I have read the Book Thief before I am the Messenger, and I must say Markus Zusak has become one of my favourite authors. This book will always stick with me since it was captivating from the beginning until the end. I could have finished the book in one sitting, but I decided to take my time with this one since I did not want the story to be over. It sends a very compelling message, which I think many young adults can relate to. Highly recommend!
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Memorable Very good with a great message!
Date published: 2017-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Memorable This is a book that I read about 7 years ago, and I still remember the story. It's a really interesting story that sticks with you
Date published: 2017-07-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very popular among teens I read this as I work with teens and it seemed very popular in high school English classes. Very good read with a great message!
Date published: 2017-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfection It's the kind of book that depicts humanity on every level. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. I reread this book every few years, and each time I find something new to admire, learn, and appreciate. Zusak has such a talent with words, I find it impossible to put his novels down.
Date published: 2017-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love, love and love! Great book. After reading The Book Thief I wanted to read more from the author. Takes a bit to get into but definitely worth the wait!
Date published: 2017-03-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing After reading The Book Thief, I was eager to read more by this author. However this story is very different and I really didn't enjoy it. Part way through I did begin to understand the meaning of The Messenger but if the book hadn't been quick to read, I wouldn't have finished it. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Doesn't compare Quick, easy and light read, but doesn't even compare to the emotion and calibre of the book thief. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Very creative, so completely different than The Book Thief. Original story, captivating.
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing A very thought provoking and compelling read. Would definitely recommend to anyone, especially if you are a fan of The Book Thief. Zuask's unique writing style gives his characters a voice of their own.
Date published: 2017-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great read! very straightforward, easy read. Has a really great theme #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it! This is a very thought provoking book that was thoroughly enjoyable. The ending was a bit confusing, but overall well written.
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from also pretty great after the book thief, this is a good salve for your destroyed soul
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! I remember my english class doing a study with assignments that were based off this book and I'd read it again. It's not as good as the Book Thief, but still a must-read!
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read I am The Messenger is a great, compelling read. It falls a little flat at the very end, but overall it's wonderfully well written and has a great message.
Date published: 2017-01-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Good I thoroughly enjoyed this book, in fact I'm the opposite of many and would recommend I am the Messenger any day over the Book Thief. Read both and enjoyed both, but if I had to pick on it would definitely be this one!
Date published: 2017-01-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting Interesting story but at times a little hard to follow. It doesn't really compare to the Book Thief.
Date published: 2017-01-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So weird Well that was decidedly weird. There were kind of two areas of interest there that I feel should be addressed. As far as prose and characterization and writing style goes, Zusak did not disappoint. I loved the honest characters and distinct voice and everything in between. And then there was just a whole lot of mind-blowing weirdness. Really, I am just very pleased and perplexed by this, in the best way possible.
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointment This book was a huge disappointment for me. I had read the Book Thief and loved it so much, and this book did not even come close to comparing. Very very disappointed.
Date published: 2016-12-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I wasn't a huge fan I read this fairly quickly but didn't find it to be life changing. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LIFE CHANGING This book is inspired. Its amazing and truly changed how I look at life
Date published: 2016-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It's amazing! This book was absolutely beautiful, and I was hooked from the very beginning. The story is great and it was both emotional and humorous. The writing was amazing and the book was very inspiring as well. I would read it again and again!
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A fantastic book! In school we were given this book to read and I am so glad we were.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it so much!! If you're looking for a mystery/thriller then I definitely recommend this. Very different from The Book Thief but still a fantastic book! The plot twists are amazing and had me literally sitting at the edge of my seat!
Date published: 2016-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! My friend bought this for me a while ago and honestly, at first I wasn't sure if I really wanted to read it since I had already read The Book Thief (which is by the same author) and loved it, so I was worried that this one wouldn't even compare. But wow, am I grateful that I gave it a chance! This book was incredible, I was blown away! I couldn't put it down! It was one of those books that really touched my heart and I would recommend this to literally everyone!
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A brutally honest read! I am the Messenger is one of the more bizarre books I have ever read. It is one of those books that caused me to question myself continually about why I was reading it, yet, at the same time, I couldn't put it down. Even now, having finished it, I am not sure how I feel about it. But it sticks with me, so that is a five-mug read in my opinion!Ed Kennedy is a rather ambitiousless young guy, a cabdriver with no real future ahead of him. He is hopelessly in love with Audrey, something that she seems to not know. He is completely devoted to her and to his dog, Doorman. Doorman is a character in and of himself. He's addicted to coffee, old, smelly, and basically the canine equivalent of Ed himself. The product of routine and stagnation inthat routine. But then one day, things change for Ed when he inadvertently foils a bank robbery. He receives a card in the mail with mysterious instructions and this is how he becomes the messenger. And what is the messenger? Part guardian angel, part avenging angel. He follows the instructions on the cards given to him, not knowing who is behind them. For the first time in his life, he has purpose. I enjoyed that theme and that is probably what kept me reading. But the rational part of me kept questioning... who would blindly follow such odd instructions? Especially when sometimes they are less helpful, and more violent. But I love the bluntness of the character, the unabashed portrayal of a person who, for most of his life, is just there. Nothing special. All of the characters were like that... blunt. Their edges weren't smoothed for the sake of likeability. They were who they were and they reminded me of people I knew. They were real. And that is what kept me reading! My Recommendation: It is a strange book and I think that is what I loved most about it. I found it to be refreshing and I appreciated the brutal honesty of the characters.
Date published: 2015-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best book I've read. Ever. This book was hard to find, being on the bottom shelf, easy to get into, and impossible to put down. Through the eyes of Ed Kennedy, we see lessons of kindness, of potential, of inner struggle, and of love. Most people know Zusak for The Book Thief, which was a good book with its imagery, but this is just as great of a read with its reality.
Date published: 2015-07-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It was ok I read The Book Thief before reading this book and I absolutely loved it. I loved the way it was written and I thought this book would be just as good, but it wasn't. The story line was unique and heart warming at parts but it also got really boring at others and it took me a while to finish this book. If I hadn't read the Book Thief first I probably wouldn't think this, but I started this book with high expectations so I was really disappointed when the style of writing was only average. However I am the Messenger had a really good ending so I feels like it evens things out a bit. It was ok.
Date published: 2015-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Different, creative and heartwarming I've recommended this book to almost all of my book loving friends. I found the concept just so exciting and different, and although it was as fantastic as The Book Thief, Zuzak created a beautiful and sweet story about a young clumsy guy finding his path in life. All the characters were incredibly relatable, and the way it was written has never made me prouder to say i'm an Aussie!!! The book had just the right amount of dark themes, more than once i found myself either on the edge of my seat or on the verge of tears. The scale of sweetness to darkness created a novel i would describe as "whole". This is a book that I can read in any mood, and I've never been closer to a fictional character as I am with Ed!!!
Date published: 2014-07-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Missing Things.. Is it just me... or was this one by Markus Zusak really disappointing compared to the one and only The Book Thief? That one was sheer awesomeness, but I really didn't see anything special about this one and it was boring at some points. This book was real kick-butt. Bank robberies, playing cards and a teenager becoming a manager of a bank? Call me in! Of course, Markus Zusak in a way has created awesomeness, all through the eyes of Ed Kennedy, who was a hilarious young guy who was lost, but still learned so much about life in this "journey" of his. I felt proud of him, even though he was a fictional character. I did have some issues with this book- the plot wasn't all there, the side characters weren't amazing, and a few things were missing. But really, The Book Thief was ten thousand times better than this, but this had a fresh idea and something special and different from every other book. But, the details weren't all there, and when they were there, they weren't needed. The idea was good but things were missing, and that doesn't really please me.
Date published: 2014-04-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Niiice! An enjoyable book. Very well written and will keep you hooked.
Date published: 2013-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring and Brilliant At first, i didnt know what to expect. I hoped it would be good, but the concept is so creative and different that it could go either way. It was slow and boring, but then things really started picking up, and this book became a touching, memorable one. I Am The Messenger is a brilliant book, filled with laughter and deep themes that can effect every single person who reads it. Each character is unique and relatable, and theres just something about Ed that makes you want to learn more about him. He's a great lead, your average british (Australian? Never really figured it out...) man, just a normal guy you could see everyday walking down the street. I love how he describes himself as a 'sexual midget' and all these other names that make him who he is. He is a great character, so fitting for this book. Markus Zusak is a great storyteller. He brings this story to life and adds humor to deep and dark topics and themes. Its simple yet so complex, at the same time. This is my first book of his and i will certainly be reading more of his work! There are great, true-to-life lessons and messages in this book, about how one person can change so much, or how one person could be hiding so much. (Not Ed, the characters in general). It really is a strong, engrossing book for young adults. Really, really great!
Date published: 2013-04-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I Am The Messenger I picked this book up because of how much I loved The Book Thief. I wouldn't say that I was disappointed but this book just didn't move me in the way that that book did. It was still a good book and a better read then a lot of other things out there.
Date published: 2013-04-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A fantasy set among the mundane We are the message of our life. Actions and attitudes speak the message whether we intend them to or not. This book examines the messages sent by human interaction and relationships. The common threads that we try to ignore, bind us inextricably together.
Date published: 2013-02-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unusual Story Great story about a young man going nowhere. When he commits a brave act, he begins receiving unusual messages that require him to alter the lives of strangers. The end didn't satisfy but that may be part of the journey.
Date published: 2012-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Right up there with The Book Thief I read this book because The Book Thief amazed me so much, and this novel did not fail to impress. It was absolutely incredible. Zusak has this uncanny ability to create characters that are so likeable! Not because they're crazily talented or smart or special, but just due to the fact that they are so ordinary yet oddly fascinating. They are beautiful.
Date published: 2012-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great read Ed Kennedy is a slacker. He drives a cab, plays cards with his friends and wishes for a romance with his girl pal. He definitely has not reached his potential. All that changes when he inadvertently stops a bank robbery and becomes a hero. Thereafter, a set of aces arrive giving him clues as to what he is to do. These 'jobs' involve easy ones like befriending an elderly lady and reading to her to harder ones like stopping a man from raping and abusing his wife. The reader can see Ed evolve after each set of challenges. This is definitely not a YA book. At first, I found the book quite simplistic and wondered what was the point. I enjoyed the journey and the characters but really fell in love with the book at the last sentence when it all became clear.
Date published: 2011-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Ed Kennedy just happens to be in a bank when a really bad bank robber holds up the bank. Ed manages to stop the robbery and is lauded as a local hero. Shortly thereafter he receives his first ace in the mail. An ace of diamonds with the name of three people on the card. Ed soon realizes that he must visit these people and bring them a message. Some of the messages are good, such as keeping company with an elderly lady and reading her Withering Heights. Some of the messages are bad, like it being suggested that he murder a man that rapes his wife every night. Ed knows that there are more cards coming and more messages that need to be sent and they get harder and harder with each card. This is supposed to be a young adult book but it sure doesn't read like one. The themes are more mature than what I would expect to see in a young adult. As soon as I started reading this, I was hooked. Even though Zusak uses a lot of short sentences, which doesn't always lead to a well written book, that's not the case. I very easily connected with the characters and couldn't put the book down to learn how Ed was going to help out each of his messages and which message he was going to give them. I like this book just as much as The Book Thief, which I also thoroughly enjoyed!
Date published: 2011-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my all-time favorite novels! I read I am the Messenger about five years ago. And it has left a lasting impression on me. To this day, it's still one of the best books I've ever read. The lesson is amazing, and it's just so impacting. Everyone should read this book. Everyone.
Date published: 2011-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It This is the first book I'd ever read by Markus Zusak and I am quite glad of it. As others have said it was incredibly funny, the characters are people you can relate to quite easilly and the dialogue is witty and charming.I was immediatly drawn into the story and I enjoyed how the book was divided according to different aces and how the protagonist grew along the way. At times the story was cute, at other's tocuhing at at one point it brought a tear to my eye because the moment was just so beautiful.
Date published: 2011-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Funny, raw & touching, but odd ending I truly enjoyed this book and how easy it was to read. Real dialogue that made me laugh out loud on more than a few occasions. Great characters, superbly written and a truly original story. I will pass this one along to my older son, as I did with The Book Thief. Although I am still trying to figure out the ending, I highly recommend the book. I will definitely read his next novel. ***Personally I do not recommend this book to kids under 16 as there are many sexual situations.
Date published: 2010-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Feel the Hearts Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver who spends his days playing cards with his friends, has conversations with his coffee-loving dog, The Doorman, and is hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. His life is nothing special and doesn't seem to be going anywhere. But when he involuntarily stops a bank robbery, he starts receiving aces in his mail. On each card are three addresses or a coded message. Ed follows these locations and realizes that there are others whose lives aren't going anywhere either. And when he decides to help them, sometimes hurting himself in the process, he will discover that it's not the one behind his mission that's important, but the messages that he has to send. This was a heartwarming story about a boy who lives a repetitive life in a lonely, sad town with his crummy friends. But a simple push in the right direction can lead anybody on a mission that can change your life forever. Ed is a wonderful protagonist who can be easily related to with his easy going attitude, his odd friends, and his broken family. Zusak did an amazing job with portraying each character and their personalities. I found myself laughing along with them as I read their stories and occasionally even shedding a tear. Zusak can write so beautifully that it seems that every word on the page has multiple meanings. I absolutely love Zusak's ability to write in a way that can break your heart and warm it at the same time. This was a beautiful story about a man who discovers the meaning of life and the warmth that comes to you when you help people. The ending was a little odd though, but I guess that's part of the mystery to it all.
Date published: 2010-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Written What a deep read! First person narrative through the POV of a young man with no ambition in life. Only after receiving messages written on playing cards, does he begin his journey as the messenger. It's classed as Young Adult, but anyone can read this. The characters were in their early twenties and many of the situations were adult in nature. This wasn't a classic page turner, but I still got lost in the author's writing every time I picked it up. The imagery, emotion and character develo...more What a deep read! First person narrative through the POV of a young man with no ambition in life. Only after receiving messages written on playing cards, does he begin his journey as the messenger. It's classed as Young Adult, but anyone can read this. The characters were in their early twenties and many of the situations were adult in nature. This wasn't a classic page turner, but I still got lost in the author's writing every time I picked it up. The imagery, emotion and character development were all beautiful. Really beautiful...and real! I was a bit disappointed with the ending, but it didn't change my opinion of the book. I look forward to reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak after enjoying The Messenger so much.
Date published: 2010-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A good lesson for all We could all learn a thing or two from this novel. Mostly what we should take away from it is that we should all willingly help others. Even if we don't know them, it might just make someone's day. Ed is nobody speical. He's nineteen, drives a cab to earn a living and lives in what he calls a shack. So why is he the one that gets an Ace card with three mysterious addresses on it? At first he thinks it's a joke, then when he realizes it isn't he's not sure what he's supposed to do. Eventually he figures out he is supposed to help the people one the cards he receives, even if he has to do something against his morals. An absolutely amazing read about helping others out, and the way it can change you. If you looked his novel The Book Thief, you will love I Am the Messenger.
Date published: 2009-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Complex in its simplicity This is precisely why I enjoy children/young adult books! The writing style was concise, direct and simple. Caught my attention right away -- no interjecting, winding sentences necessary. Ed was a great front-man for the book, showing the will and spirit of every human being; he was relate-able and real, which is what I enjoyed most -- he could have been just about anyone. Inspiring concepts with -- let me use the word again -- simple deeds meant so much to me that it actually brought me to tears. On top of all that, the mystery -- which is intricately explained at the end -- of the sender and deciphering the meaning of the messages on those cards was thrilling. Fun times all around.
Date published: 2009-07-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Wonderful Read A very heartwarming book and a story that should be shared with the entire world! I could not put this book down and did not want to read the last page. You connect with the characters right away. Good lessons learned and brilliant humor to go along with it! I recommend this book to anyone. A must read!
Date published: 2009-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Transparent and suspensful book The message that the messenger is trying to pass on is not hard to spot, especially at the end when it is stated, but the content is still fascinating. Certainly the final twist is not predictable, so we are kept guessing about the content until the end. The idea of the book can be seen in the first section though. Not that that's a bad thing. I chose to read this book partially because it has an award (Michael L Printz award for excellence in young adult literature), because it was on Chapters' '20 books to read before you're 20" table, and because it has card suits on the back. And despite not really liking card games, I love suit symbolism. The book was of course much more than those three things, and future reads will have far better reasons for reading. Namely that the book has an interesting plot, amusing narration, heart-warming situations and a pleasant message.
Date published: 2009-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BOOK SHOULD NOT BE READ BY CHILDREN UNDER 16 I read this book with my adult book club and loved it but it should NOT be recommended for children. There is a scene of domestic rape and graphic sexual descriptions. I cannot believe they recommend this for children under 12.
Date published: 2008-11-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I got the message I read the first couple of pages on my 15-minute break at the bookstore I work at. It captivated me at once with its sincere writing style and the sarcastic wit the characters possess. Furthermore, the plot intrigued me. It centres around a very ordinary, young adult finding his meaning in life by helping people who get introduced to him through Ace playing cards that he mysteriously receives. Zusak understands and makes the protagonist relatable through his mind of thoughts. You could feel Ed mature and his life change by the people he tries to change on his missions. The plot reveal was abrupt, but when it had sunk in, I got the message.
Date published: 2008-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Friggen Awesome!! This was one of the Best Books I've ever read. I would even go as far as the best! I absolutely loved it ! The main character Ed is really funny and always makes jokes about himself as a result of his low self-esteem, the jokes are hilarious. The Conflicts and Plot of this book is really, extremely well developed. This book was packed with suspense. I just could not put this book down. She was definetly a page-turner !
Date published: 2008-02-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from good read but lame ending Well written other than a lot of unnecessary bad language. The ending was so lame--what a disappointment. Almost as bad as "and then I woke up".
Date published: 2007-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read! i dont see why this book is for ages 10-12 i am 16 and loved it and thought it was a good read for people my age, like the thing at the beginning says it is very addictive, and i was actually laughing out loud by page 6. This book is funny and intense and has a bit of everything i loved it and plan on reading it again (i would suggest buying it) Looove it
Date published: 2006-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful Book! This book was wonderful. Ed Kennedy is a 20 year old who lives on his own and works as a cabdriver. The only activities that break the monotony of his life are the card games he plays with his 3 best friends. However, one day he receives an Ace in the mail with cryptic messages on it that he must deliver. The messages lead him on a journey of growth and self-discovery. This was an entertaining story with likeable characters and a nice message. I highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2006-07-14

Read from the Book

the holdupThe gunman is useless.I know it.He knows it.The whole bank knows it.Even my best mate, Marvin, knows it, and he's more useless than the gunman.The worst part about the whole thing is that Marv's car is standing outside in a fifteen-minute parking zone. We're all facedown on the floor, and the car's only got a few minutes left on it."I wish this bloke'd hurry up," I mention."I know," Marv whispers back. "This is outrageous." His voice rises from the depths of the floor. "I'll be getting a fine because of this useless bastard. I can't afford another fine, Ed.""The car's not even worth it.""What?"Marv looks over at me now. I can sense he's getting uptight. Offended. If there's one thing Marv doesn't tolerate, it's someone putting shit on his car. He repeats the question."What did you say, Ed?""I said," I whisper, "it isn't even worth the fine, Marv." "Look," he says, "I'll take a lot of things, Ed, but . . ."I tune out of what he's saying because, quite frankly, once Marv gets going about his car, it's downright pain-in-the-arse material. He goes on and on, like a kid, and he's just turned twenty, for Jesus' sake.He goes on for another minute or so, until I have to cut him off."Marv," I point out, "the car's an embarrassment, okay? It doesn't even have a hand brake--it's sitting out there with two bricks behind the back wheels." I'm trying to keep my voice as quiet as possible. "Half the time you don't even bother locking it. You're probably hoping someone'll flog it so you can collect the insurance." "It isn't insured.""Exactly.""NRMA said it wasn't worth it.""It's understandable."That's when the gunman turns around and shouts, "Who's talkin' back there?"Marv doesn't care. He's worked up about the car."You don't complain when I give you a lift to work, Ed, you miserable upstart.""Upstart? What the hell's an upstart?""I said shut up back there!" the gunman shouts again."Hurry up then!" Marv roars back at him. He's in no mood now. No mood at all.He's facedown on the floor of the bank.The bank's being robbed.It's abnormally hot for spring.The air-conditioning's broken down.His car's just been insulted.Old Marv's at the end of his tether, or his wit's end. Whatever you want to call it--he's got the shits something terrible.We remain flattened on the worn-out, dusty blue carpet of the bank, and Marv and I are looking at each other with eyes that argue. Our mate Ritchie's over at the Lego table, half under it, lying among all the pieces that scattered when the gunman came in yelling, screaming, and shaking. Audrey's just behind me. Her foot's on my leg, making it go numb.The gunman's gun is pointed at the nose of some poor girl behind the counter. Her name tag says Misha. Poor Misha. She's shivering nearly as bad as the gunman as she waits for some zitty twenty-nine-year-old fella with a tie and sweat patches under his arms to fill the bag with money."I wish this bloke'd hurry up," Marv speaks."I said that already," I tell him."So what? I can't make a comment of my own?""Get your foot off me," I tell Audrey."What?" she responds."I said get your foot off me--my leg's going numb."She moves it. Reluctantly."Thanks."The gunman turns around and shouts his question for the last time. "Who's the bastard talking?"The thing to note with Marv is that he's problematic at the best of times. Argumentative. Less than amiable. He's the type of friend you find yourself constantly arguing with--especially when it comes to his shitbox Falcon. He's also a completely immature arsehole when he's in the mood.He calls out in a jocular manner, "It's Ed Kennedy, sir. It's Ed who's talking!""Thanks a lot!" I say.(My full name's Ed Kennedy. I'm nineteen. I'm an underage cabdriver. I'm typical of many of the young men you see in this suburban outpost of the city--not a whole lot of prospects or possibility. That aside, I read more books than I should, and I'm decidedly crap at sex and doing my taxes. Nice to meet you.)"Well, shut up, Ed!" the gunman screams. Marv smirks. "Or I'll come over there and shoot the arse off you!" It's like being in school again and your sadistic math teacher's barking orders at you from the front of the room, even though he couldn't care less and he's waiting for the bell so he can go home and drink beer and get fat in front of the telly.I look at Marv. I want to kill him. "You're twenty years old, for Christ's sake. Are you trying to get us killed?""Shut up, Ed!" The gunman's voice is louder this time.I whisper even quieter. "If I get shot, I'm blaming you. You know that, don't you?""I said shut up, Ed!""Everything's just a big joke, isn't it, Marv?""Right, that's it." The gunman forgets about the woman behind the counter and marches over to us, fed up as all buggery. When he arrives we all look up at him.Marv.Audrey.Me.And all the other hopeless articles like us sprawled out on the floor.The end of the gun touches the bridge of my nose. It makes it itchy. I don't scratch it.The gunman looks back and forth between Marv and me. Through the stocking on his face I can see his ginger whiskers and acne scars. His eyes are small and he has big ears. He's most likely robbing the bank as a payback on the world for winning the ugliness prize at his local fete three years running."So which one of you's Ed?""Him," I answer, pointing to Marv."Oh no you don't," Marv counters, and I can tell by the look on his face that he isn't as afraid as he should be. He knows we'd both be dead by now if this gunman was the real thing. He looks up at the stocking-faced man and says, "Hang on a sec. . . ." He scratches his jawline. "You look familiar.""Okay," I admit, "I'm Ed." But the gunman's too busy listening to what Marv has to say for himself."Marv," I whisper loudly, "shut up."From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

“The Book Thief is unsettling and unsentimental, yet ultimately poetic. Its grimness and tragedy run through the reader’s mind like a black-and-white movie, bereft of the colors of life. Zusak may not have lived under Nazi domination, but The Book Thief deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel’s Night. It seems poised to become a classic.” -USA Today"Zusak doesn’t sugarcoat anything, but he makes his ostensibly gloomy subject bearable the same way Kurt Vonnegut did in Slaughterhouse-Five: with grim, darkly consoling humor.” - Time Magazine"Elegant, philosophical and moving...Beautiful and important." - Kirkus Reviews, Starred"An extraordinary narrative."- School Library Journal, Starred"Exquisitely written and memorably populated, Zusak's poignant tribute to words, survival, and their curiously inevitable entwinement is a tour de force to be not just read but inhabited."- The Horn Book Magazine, Starred"One of the most highly anticipated young-adult books in years."- The Wall Street JournalFrom the Hardcover edition.