I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 13, 2013
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I'd like to start not with a discussion of the book, but the writer. Markus Zusak wrote I Am the Messenger in 2002, four years before he attained major literary success with the popular YA novel The Book Thief. It was, in fact, because of The Book Thief that I stumbled upon I Am the Messenger.

Zusak, in my opinion, is one, if not the, least appreciated writer of this time period. He has a unique way of weaving a story, and although his language and characters aren't up to Shakespeare's level, they have a wonderful ability to surprise you.

Zusak isn't a prodigy; his way of writing was an acquired skill. This, if anything, is meant to be a compliment, not an insult. His earlier writing was, quite frankly, a bit sloppy. It is refreshing to realize that not all writers are born with a pencil in one hand and a mind full of extensive vocabulary. Writing is work and needs to be polished and practiced to eventually turn into art.

Zusak shows this beautifully in I Am the Messenger. The plot centers around a 19-year-old cab driver named Ed, who is thrown into a bizarre series of events, starting with a bank robbery. An instant hero, Ed receives anonymous messages where he discovers different people and different stories, all of which are tied together and all of which he is meant to somehow change.

The story, in short, is about a young man who is suddenly shoved into a role he isn't prepared for but is meant to fulfill. Zusak fits the pieces together and makes the story truly shine. An interesting and almost daring mix of characters and morals are woven together. Overall, it's a unique read, and you won't find anything like it on shelves today.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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