i am the messenger -- Markus Zusak

I-Am-the-MessengerOh. So THAT'S what everyone was talking about. This is another example of me missing out on a fantastic book due to my extremely annoying occasional avoidance of Books With Buzz. The more I'm told to read something, the more stubborn I get. And so then, years later, I read the darn book, and I kick myself. I am SO dumb. 

On to the book.

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 far more books than I should, and I'm decidedly crap at sex and doing my taxes. Nice to meet you.

He lives alone with his beloved (and extremely smelly) seventeen-year-old coffee-loving Rottweiler mix, the Doorman*. Ed works, Ed walks, Ed reads, Ed plays cards with his three best friends, Ed obsesses about being in love with one of his best friends. That's about it. Not so much in the way of drive or meaning.

One day, he happens to be in a bank while it's being robbed**. Due to dumb luck, he also happens to prevent the criminal's escape and ends up in the local newspapers, a hero.

A day later, the first ace arrives in the mail. On it is written:

45 Edgar Street, midnight
13 Harrison Avenue, 6 p.m.
6 Macedoni Street, 5:30 a.m.

Ed becomes the messenger.

I don't want to get into it much more here because:

A) Ed's voice is so fantastic that I won't be able to do him justice and
B) you should experience his journey through him, not me.

Just know that it's sweet and violent and tragic and hilarious. 

Highly, highly recommended. It's one that I know I'll re-read. 

It's a good one for any voracious (and mature) teen reader, especially those drawn to mysteries. I'll be handing this one out to adult readers as well.


*Don't worry. This book, thank goodness, is one of the few exceptions to Gordon Korman's rule. Though there is a big shiny medal on the front cover, the dog doesn't die.

**Easily the funniest bank robbery scene I've ever read.