Author: Andrew Smith
Release date: 5th June 2014
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Social Issues
Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids in the Pacific Northwest. 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.
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.
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.
Winger has to be one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. I found myself looking forward to reading it whenever I got the chance and I was reluctant to put it down each time I had to do something else. Reading Winger also made me realise that I haven’t read a solely male-dominated book in quite some time.
At first I thought it was just a fun, diverse read. I’d heard a lot of great things about it so I had extremely high expectations and I can honestly say I wasn’t disappointed.
The plot twist at the end. I finished Winger almost a week ago and haven’t been able to write the review because I couldn’t decide whether I would be able to write it without including a spoiler. It took me this long to decide against it. Only because this is one of those spoilers that would ruin your entire life, not to mention the book, if you accidentally happened to stumble upon it and I can’t do that to anyone. So I’m just going to point out that there is a plot twist… a major one. Just putting that out there.
Winger, or Ryan Dean, is a funny main character. As the youngest one in his year (?? I can never understand the whole junior/senior/American high school system) he tends to feel excluded and different most of the time and as a reader you notice this, he also has a habit of putting himself down a lot but is also extremely overconfident in front of others. An odd combination. On the other hand, his obsession with the opposite gender is quite entertaining yet sometimes borderline irritating. Joey, Winger’s gay best friend, is the sensible one who tends to scold him whenever Winger gets out of hand – and therefore, my favourite character. Joey also struggles quite a bit with his sexuality, especially being a gay guy on the rugby team.
I really did enjoy this read. I enjoyed reading about Winger’s transformation, and the illustrations were a fun bonus. Winger is one of those books that you finish and sit in the same spot for an hour or so just trying to comprehend the ending. I only just found out that there is a sequel, Stand-Off, coming out this September and I can’t wait!!!