by: Andrew Smith
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.
A Boarding School!? WIN!
So, I heard about this book from a variety of sources, so needless to say, I was anxious to get started! Ryan Dean West is a young boy, who is so smart that he is ahead of his peers, grade wise. A smart main character, especially a guy is a major win for me. Plus, throw in that they’re at a boarding school, and some sports [rugby is our game in this one!] and we should have ourselves a winner!
As in any coming-of-age novel, there is a love interest. Annie is awesome, and I truly was invested in the story between these two, their friendship was so true to what I think it would be in real life, and to see it develop, and go through its ups and downs was really great. Each character in Winger was fully developed, and had their own story line that was essential for the main story of the book. Of these characters, Joey was my absolute FAVORITE, he is the good guy and he just tries to keep things cool between everyone, especially when our book’s bully; Chas is getting out of hand. I can guarantee that in Winger there is a character that everyone can cheer for, or want to punch square in the face.
Things That Make You Go..
ARGHHHH. I truly wanted to love Winger. AND, it had some MAJORLY awesome elements! The inclusion of a gay character that was not just the TOKEN gay guy was awesome. The humor throughout this novel was actually laugh out loud worthy, and the WTF moments made you actually think, and try to imagine what you would do at that age.
So what was your issue?
For ME, and this could just be ME, the middle dragged. This book is LONG. And while enjoyable I found myself struggling at page like 200-300 to just want it to come together quicker. Do NOT take this for me not enjoying this book, because I did. Little things, like the drawings that Ryan Dean includes are awesome, and the notes that we get to see are also really great, as well as humorous. This book was put together very well, and I thoroughly enjoyed where it was going. However, when a book drags for me, it just follows suit that I lose interest. Luckily, Ryan Dean West’s story drew me back in at page like, 360, and for the rest of the book I was fully immersed in all that was going on. So, I think for ANY contemporary YA fan, this one is definitely one to put on your TBR as I can imagine many will not feel how I did.
While not in love due to the draggy parts, I will be on the lookout for more from Andrew Smith, when it comes to male narration, his it tops!