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I Am the Messenger


I Am the Messenger Cover



Author Q & A

How did you become a writer?

When I was growing up, I wanted to be a house painter like my father, but I was always screwing up when I went to work with him. I had a talent for knocking over paint and painting myself into corners. I also realized fairly quickly that painting bored me. When I was a teenager, I read some books that brought me totally into their worlds. One was The Old Man and the Sea and another was What?s Eating Gilbert Grape. When I read those books, I thought, ?That?s what I want to do.? It took seven years to get published and there were countless daily failures, but I?m glad those failures and rejections happened. They made me realise that what I was writing just wasn?t good enough ? so I made myself improve.

Do you follow a set routine when you write?

I basically have two routines. The first one is the non-lazy routine, where I get up and work from about 7am and aim to finish by 11:30. That usually sees me through till noon or twelve-thirty (with some time-wasting in between). Then I?ll take a long break and do a few more hours in the afternoon. The lazy routine usually starts at 10am and I?ll write longer into the afternoon.

The only time these routines really change is at the start or end of a book, when I?m more likely to work at night. I can?t face starting a book early in the morning purely because self-belief levels are at their lowest for me when I wake up. When I?m finishing a book, I will stay up longer and work through the night, mainly out of desperation to finally get it done.

How did you come to write I Am The Messenger?

I was sitting in a park one night eating fish and chips and saw a bank with a fifteen minute parking zone out the front, and I thought, ?Fifteen minutes, that?s not very long ? every time I go the bank it takes a lot longer than that.? I then thought, ?What if you were in that bank when it was being robbed and your car was out in the fifteen minute parking zone? How would you get out to move your car to avoid getting a fine?? That gave me the bungled bank robbery scene that led to everything else in the book.

What do you do to get away from writing?

Living in Sydney, I?ve taken the chance to start surfing again. One of my best memories of growing up is catching my first proper wave and surfing across it and my brother cheering at me from the shore. Many years later, I?ve started up again and I?m really loving it ? as long as the waves are small enough?I also watch a lot of movies, especially when I?m struggling with a story I?m working on. I like watching the same ones over and over again, so I half watch and half think about the story.

Lastly, where do you get your ideas from?

I used to lie about this, but now I actually know ? I started writing when I was sixteen. I?m thirty now. I get my ideas from fourteen years of thinking about it.

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Average customer rating based on 10 comments:

Sheree Whitelock, July 28, 2015 (view all comments by Sheree Whitelock)
The amazing thing about this book is that I can use direct quotes from the book to tell you exactly how it made me feel. "I didn't know words could be so heavy." It reminded me that "Sometimes people are beautiful. Not in looks. Not in what they say. Just in what they are." And the most important thing it told me to hold onto in life is that "Maybe everyone can live beyond what they're capable of."
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Sheila Deeth, October 24, 2014 (view all comments by Sheila Deeth)
If you’re looking for a novel like The Book Thief, this isn’t it. But if you’re looking for a seriously intriguing read, with a seriously irreverent layabout teen lead character, and a mystery that draws you deeper into inexplicable strangeness, even as the message remains disguised, then look no further. This card-player’s cryptic cards will lead Ed on a chase through character and plot, making even the most disturbing scene seem uplifting or even redeeming. Meanwhile the truth behind Ed's mission stays deviously disguised.

These teens drink and swear---it’s part of what makes them real, and it’s not gratuitous. They live half-wasted lives in that wasteland before adulthood. They cope with disappointing parents and parental disappointment, and struggle to heal from lack of direction or hope. Meanwhile the protagonist learns that both young and old have problems of their own. He learns to care. And he learns to see what's needed while others are blind.

The question, of course, is what hope is there for him, if he’s just the messenger. And the answer? You’ll have to read it to find out. Aimed at older, mature teens, and wonderfully enthralling and revealing for adults too, I Am The Messenger offers a wonderful message in a story that won’t let go.

Disclosure: I loved the Book Thief and I knew this would be different, but I love this too.
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mizmeliss87, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by mizmeliss87)
I love Markus Zusak's writing style. He writes as his characters would think and talk. The book is written from the perspective of a 19 year old Australian boy who is trying to figure out his place in the world. He is a flawed character who makes mistakes, takes forever to act, and can retreat far into himself. His flaws make him human and his struggles make the reader think. This book challenges readers to think beyond a good story and to ask the tough ethical questions of the grey areas in life. As Ed Kennedy struggles to answer the questions of "who am I?" and "What the hell am I doing with my life?" the reader in turn asks the same questions. Ed is challenged in the story but at the same time, he challenges readers as well.
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Product Details

Zusak, Markus
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Andrews, Jesse
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - General
Mysteries, Espionage, & Detective Stories
Social Issues - Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
General Juvenile Fiction
Children s Middle Readers-General
Mysteries & Detective Stories
Historical - Holocaust
fiction;ya;young adult;mystery;australia;friendship;coming of age;playing cards;cards;printz honor;heroes;realistic fiction;young adult fiction;contemporary;teen;love;novel;messages;self-esteem;bank robbery;printz;romance;suspense;altruism;printz award;ta
box set;boxed set;wwii;world war ii;world war 2;australia
Edition Description:
Hardcover w/Dust Jacket
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 7
8.25 x 5.5 x 1 in
Age Level:

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I Am the Messenger Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
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Product details 304 pages Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - English 9780375836671 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

I've got to hand it to Australian author Markus Zusak: this book single-handedly made me want to be a better person. As a lifelong reader, I feel a book like this, one that can really change people, comes around so rarely that Zusak must be recognized as the innovative and fascinating author he is.

"Review" by , "Zusak's characters, styling, and conversations are believably unpretentious, well conceived, and appropriately raw. Together, these key elements fuse into an enigmatically dark, almost film-noir atmosphere..."
"Review" by , "...Zusak succeeds brilliantly."
"Review" by , "Funny, engrossing, and suspenseful."
"Review" by , "A touching and intriguing exploration of the need to live one's life significantly, to value the richness knowing one another brings along with its terrible vulnerability."
"Review" by , "[A] wild ride of a novel..."
"Synopsis" by ,
The book that inspired the hit film!


Sundance U.S. Dramatic Audience Award

Sundance Grand Jury Prize


This is the funniest book you’ll ever read about death.


It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl.

        This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.

Praise for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl


“One need only look at the chapter titles (“Let’s Just Get This Embarrassing Chapter Out of the Way”) to know that this is one funny book.”

Booklist, starred review


“A frequently hysterical confessional...Debut novelist Andrews succeeds brilliantly in painting a portrait of a kid whose responses to emotional duress are entirely believable and sympathetic, however fiercely he professes his essential crappiness as a human being. Though this novel begs inevitable thematic comparisons to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars (2011), it stands on its own in inventiveness, humor and heart.”

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“It is sure to be popular with many boys, including reluctant readers, and will not require much selling on the part of the librarian.”


"Mr. Andrews' often hilarious teen dialogue is utterly convincing, and his characters are compelling. Greg's random sense of humor, terrible self-esteem and general lack of self-awareness all ring true. Like many YA authors, Mr. Andrews blends humor and pathos with true skill, but he steers clear of tricky resolutions and overt life lessons, favoring incremental understanding and growth."

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Capitol Choices 2013 - Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens

Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Choices 2013 list - Young Adult Fiction

YALSA 2013 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

YALSA 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults

YALSA 2014 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults


"Synopsis" by , Markus Zusak is the author of I Am the Messenger, a Printz Honor Book and Los Angeles Times Book Award Finalist, and the international bestseller, The Book Thief, which has been translated into over thirty languages and has sold nine million copies around the world. He is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens and lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and children.
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