Monday, May 13, 2013

Winger (Early Book Review)

Monday, May 13, 2013 1:41 PM with 8 comments

Winger

Winger

Author: Andrew Smith
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Number of Pages: 448
Release Date: May 14, 2013

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.



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MY THOUGHTS:

I was initially turned-off by this cover when I first saw it on Edelweiss. Then I started seeing 4-5 star ratings pop up and words like "hilarious" were being bandied around, so I went back and downloaded it. And I am so, so glad I did. Winger is definitely one of my favorite books of the year. It is funny and honest and heartbreaking and just...wonderful. 

Winger follows Ryan Dean West, or "Winger", an extremely intelligent 14 year-old junior attending a private boarding school. Ryan Dean is a winger on the rugby team (hence the nickname). This gives him a coolness factor another boy who skipped two grades may not have. Ryan Dean has landed himself in "Opportunity Hall" (the dorm for so-called troublemakers) after hacking a teacher's cell phone. O-Hall is filled with boys older and bigger than he is. His own roommate, Chas Becker, is one of the biggest bullies in school, but luckily on the rugby team with Ryan Dean. Soon Ryan finds himself connecting with the other boys in O-Hall, especially Joey, a un-stereotypical gay boy who is also on the rugby team (and who is easily one of my favorite characters).

Ryan is in love with the beautiful Annie whom he considers his best friend. While she obviously cares for him, too, at 16 she has a hard time seeing the 14 year-old as anything other than a kid. Ryan Dean does everything he can to break down her defenses and the novel is filled with those sweet little moments that are so poignant at that age.

Even though Ryan Dean is in love with Annie, he cannot help but hook up with the ultra-hot Megan, who just happens to be his roommate's girlfriend. He knows this is a bad decision, of course, but he's 14.

Other cast members include his former roommates/rugby teammates, JP and Seanie. Seanie is a hilarious character who does thinks like posts balls on their football nemesis' FB page. JP and Ryan Dean have a bit of a falling out when it becomes apparent that JP is trying to make a move on Annie.

I truly adored this book. Ryan Dean's voice was so authentic. I loved him. He is funny and self-depreciating and real. I loved the comics and graphs that he draws that are interspersed throughout the novel. This book made me laugh out loud, but it made me cry too. Don't let this (seriously ugly) cover fool you, this book is filled with awesome-sauce and you should definitely pick it up.

*I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review.*

8 comments:

  1. Oooh, I was also turned off by this cover, but I think this needs to go on my to-read list right away, because humor and authentic voice are things I love. :) Glad you made a good life choice in going back to get it!

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    1. The cover is truly hideous, but the book is so good. Definitely recommend. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Sounds so good and I would never have given this a second glance. Halved added this to my wish list now, great review :-)

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    1. Oh, good. I hope they change the cover for the paperback so people are more likely to pick it up. It seriously doesn't do the awesomeness which is the book any justice at all. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I was kind of hesitant to add this to my TBR, too, but it sounds a bit like Wendy Higgins' novella Flirting With Maybe and I actually really liked that one. Think I'll give this one a chance, especially if it's "hilarious". :)

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    1. It's pretty funny if you have the sense of humor of a teenage boy...which I'm pretty sure I do. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Great review! I am really interested in reading this and now, after reading what you thought about it, may have to pick it up sooner rather than later!

    Happy Reading!!

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    1. Thanks, Kim! (May I call you Kim?) I really did enjoy it and I hope you do, too. Happy reading!

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Hello, there! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I read each and every one and will do my best to respond--usually on your blog instead of on mine. I will, however, always answer direct questions. Due to serious time restraints, this blog is now an award free zone, but I appreciate the thought!