Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: review copy in exchange for an honest review
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Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.
I have SO many feelings about this book, I don’t even know where to start. I would like to mention that I’ve been waiting on Wing Jones for a while. I remember finding out about it some time last year, and then I met the author last autumn at the first event she was chairing and I was admittedly very awkward…
But I loved the idea of Wing Jones from the moment I heard about it and I had so many high expectations for this book and Katherine Webber surpassed them all. I think this is the best contemporary I’ve read this year, and definitely one of my favourite books this year (if not ever).
Wing Jones was such a real and complex character. Daughter of an African father and Chinese mother, and overshadowed by a popular, athletic, older brother, she feels like she doesn’t really fit in anywhere. Wing is definitely one of those characters you immediately fall in love with and root for. You find yourself cheering her on from the moment she begins to recognise her potential, you want her to win. Wing Jones manages to incorporate bullying, racism, financial struggles, friendship, and first love into one heart-warming story. Being a female of colour, I felt like I related to Wing on more points than one.
God, I loved so much about this book. I loved Wing’s relationship with her family. Not only her older brother – whom she practically idolised but later discovered is not as perfect as he seemed – but her hardworking mother and her snappy, yet delightful, grandmothers. I love that we get to see two different cultures come together under one roof and it was actually just beautiful to read about. I may have developed a not-so-small crush on Aaron and damn, can Katherine Webber write romance.
My heart was moments from bursting out of my chest. That reminds me, the writing. This is a debut novel but even still, I think that the writing in Wing Jones is wonderful. Each character had a distinct voice and felt unique and real. Definitely keep the tissues close when reading this. I was crying before I was even 100 pages in and it didn’t end there. There will be sad tears and happy tears, try not to get your copy too soggy. The ending was realistic by not ending on a happily-ever-after, but it still left me feeling hopeful and warm.
Overall, Wing Jones by Katherine Webber is a heart-warming story about discovering your potential and becoming who you want to be, not for anyone else, but for you. It’s full of hope and diversity, and was everything I could have hoped for.
I would 100% recommend pre-ordering this, I will definitely be forcing it down the throats of many of my reader friends in the new year and you can even enter a giveaway for a chance to win a copy on twitter! If a friend or family member is getting last minute gifts, why not ask for a pre-order of Wing Jones?