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Cover image for Getting the girl
Getting the girl
Uniform Title:
When dogs cry

1st American ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2003.
Physical Description:
261 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Sequel to: Fighting Ruben Wolfe.

Originally published under title: When dogs cry. Sydney : Pan Macmillian Australia, 2001.
Tired of being the underdog, Cameron Wolfe hungers to become something worthwhile and finally finds a girl with whom he can share his words and feelings--his popular brother Rube's ex-girlfriend.
Reading Level:
Young Adult.


Call Number
Zusak, M.

On Order



In this sequel to the award-winning FIGHTING RUBEN WOLFE, Cameron explores the ecstasy, the danger, and the cost of love.

Cameron Wolfe is a loser. He knows it. He's the quiet one, not a soccer star like his brother Steve or a charming fighter with a new girl every week like his brother Rube. Cam would give anything to be near one of those girls, to love her and treat her right. He especially likes Rube's latest, Octavia, with her brilliant ideas and bright green eyes. But what woman like that would want a loser like him?
Maybe Octavia would, Cam discovers. Maybe he'd even have something to say. And those maybes change everything: winning, loving, losing, the Wolfe brothers, and Cameron himself.

Author Notes

Markus Zusak was born in Sydney, Australia on June 23, 1975. He began writing at the age of 16, and seven years later his first book, The Underdog, was published. He is best known for his young adult novels The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger, both of which are Michael L. Printz Honor books. The Book Thief was adapted into a movie. His next book, Bridge of Clay was published October 2018. It won 2019 Indie Book Awards for Debut Fiction and Book of the Year.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-Cameron Wolfe has never had a girlfriend. He's had many crushes including his most recent one, Octavia. Pretty, funny, and great on the harmonica, Octavia is the current girlfriend of Cameron's brother, Ruben. His sibling doesn't treat any of his girlfriends well, and Cameron believes Octavia deserves better. When Ruben and Octavia break up, Cameron begins a relationship with her. His brother acts as if everything is fine, but this turns out to be the first real conflict between them. Will either relationship remain intact? Cameron's sister, Sarah, shows her brother that he is his own person and has many strengths-he's smart, funny, and sensitive. Markus Zusak's sequel (2003) to Fighting Ruben Wolfe (2001, both Arthur A. Levine Bks.; Brilliance, 2011) is about family relationships, personal discoveries, and first love. The audiobook, which can stand on its own, is narrated by Stig Wemyss in an Aussie accent that adds authenticity to the story. This coming-of-age tale from a teen boy's perspective is a good choice for most library collections.-Elizabeth L. Kenyon, Merrillville High School, IN (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Octavia is narrator Cameron's first real girlfriend, but she is also the latest casualty of his womanizing older brother, Ruben (from Fighting Ruben Wolff), in Marcus Zusak's sequel, Getting the Girl. "Rube" is a compassionate friend to his younger brother until Cam's burgeoning into a sensitive companion to Octavia becomes something Ruben both admires and resents. Zusak's tale of first love turns into a complex and authentic rendering of one boy's earthy desires and pain, set against the landscape of Sydney, Australia. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

(Middle School, High School) Since Cameron and Ruben have quit boxing (Fighting Ruben Wolfe, rev. 3/01), Cam is no longer losing to his older brother in the ring. But he still can't measure up to Rube when it comes to getting a girl. ""My brother never really had to say or do anything. He just had to stand somewhere or scratch himself or even trip up a gutter and a girl would like him."" Cam, on the other hand, spends his evenings standing silently outside the house of the girl he likes, an action--or inaction--that causes Ruben to observe, ""You're a bit of a lonely bastard aren't y'?"" But when Ruben callously discards his latest girl--a street performer named Octavia--Cameron begins to forge his first serious relationship with the beguiling harmonica player. This story of first love complicated by a serious case of sibling rivalry lacks the blustering narrative voice of its predecessor. Cam has nowtaken an interest in writing, and each chapter ends with a sampling of his often overwrought work (""If her soul ever leaks, I want it to land on me."") The entire narrative is somewhat overblown in both style and content (the scenes involving Cam and his older siblings Steven and Sarah are downright sappy), but the extravagant prose does work well in describing the relationship between Cam and Octavia, demonstrating the often-ignored fact that teenage boys also fall breathlessly and heart-stoppingly in love. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

A self-contained working-class lad falls for his brother's ex-girlfriend, which in turn triggers a rift between the siblings. In this sequel to Fighting Rueben Wolfe (2001), Zusak's taciturn yet surprisingly eloquent hero Cameron doesn't feel like a winner, but instead has "to scavenge for moments of alrightness." Overshadowed by his older brothers Steven and Ruben, Cameron, who has no friends except for the other members of the so-called "Wolfe pack," longs for love and acceptance. He spends his nights wandering around alone, almost always winding up in front of Stephanie's house, a girl who once called him a loser. The one thing that "whispered okayness" to Cameron was his words, which is what he calls his nascent writing. In contrast, Cameron's handsome and charismatic brother Ruben, a fighter and a ladies' man, lives strictly in the moment. Cameron likes and admires Ruben's current flame, a pretty, classy girl named Octavia. Although not at all surprised when Ruben breaks it off with her, Cameron is simply amazed when Octavia shows up in front of Stephanie's house and asks Cameron if he would rather "come and stand outside" her place. Concurrently gritty and lyrical with a gruesomely humorous set piece involving the funeral of a neighbor's dog, Zusak explores the deep if inexpressible desire to create, as well as the intersection between family loyalty and romantic affection. Poignant yet unsentimental, his coming-of-age exploration will touch the heart. (Fiction. YA) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Gr. 9-12. In this sequel to Fighting Ruben Wolfe (2001), the Wolfe family has settled into a kind of "okayness." For Cameron's brother, Ruben, that means "one girl after another, one fight after another." Only Cameron, who's in adolescence's high season, seems to feel restless and alone as he wanders the streets, pines over disinterested girls, and begins to discover his passion for writing. Then Ruben brings home beautiful Octavia, who, when Ruben predictably dumps her, surprises both brothers by turning to Cameron. Zusak interrupts Cameron's first-person narrative with excerpts from Cameron's writing that, as does much of the book, reads like what it's supposed to be: the words of a talented teenage writer, including some heavy metaphors, self-consciously experimental style, and fresh, inventive images. The authentic emotion behind the words and Cameron's raw experiences are powerful, and teens, especially boys, will easily connect with Cameron's intense yearning to define himself within his family and to discover what romance is all about--to explore, as he puts it, "the edges of words, the loyalty of blood, and the music of girls." GillianEngberg.