I am the Messengerby Markus ZusakReviewed by Sandy EmersonI first fell in love with Markus Zusak’s writing when I read the Book Thief, so I was eager to read another book of his. I chose I am the Messenger because I had heard good things about it. It did not disappoint.So this was the pitch that drew me to his storyThis teen gem about an unambitious teenager whose life is suddenly turned upside down by anonymous messages has it all - mystery, humor, romance, friendship. Meet Ed Kennedy - underage cab driver, pathetic card player, and useless at romance. He lives in a shack, and he's hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence, until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That's when the first Ace arrives...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?The first opening pages had me hooked. A bank robbery. A place where you’d think everyone would be terrified, scared for his or her lives, but not Ed Kennedy or his friends, Ritchie, Marv or Audrey. No, they make jokes. But, it is where it all begins.Ed’s life begins to change with the arrival of the Ace of Diamonds and from there it will never be the same again.But, that is for you to discover. I fell in love with all his characters and became more and more fascinated with their stories, but especially Ed. All I can say is that this is one book that you can’t help, but fall in love with a character. One that goes through so much happiness, pain and suffering to help other people, including his friends. But I think mainly himself.Ed and his life reminded me of real life. He has a smelly dog named The Doorman, who he loves. He has a mother who hates him. But, the relationship that touches me the most (mainly because I’m a hopeless romantic) is between Ed and Audrey. Unrequited love is never fun and that’s what Ed lives through.I loved watching Ed grow in this story. I also loved how his relationships changed and developed from being just an ‘it just is’ to ‘friends for life’. It sounds strange, I know, but sometimes the friends that you have can be superficial, with no depth. That’s what I felt Ed’s were. The friendships became more profound as the story continued.Several times during the book, I had to stop and just go ‘wow’. I can’t say how much I admire and appreciate a writer who has the ability to have me thinking about their book long after I’ve finished reading it. Markus Zusak does that with not only his plots and his characters, but also with the sheer poetry of his writing.I would really like to point out what I didn’t like about it, but I just can’t. Maybe at a stretch I could mention how I found it hard to believe a group of friends would be arguing about a car during a bank robbery, but that’s about it. The book was just that good.Five Stars easy.