Winger by Andrew Smith
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Pages: 448 (Hardcover)
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.
“I found out something about words. There are plenty of words I can put on paper, words I can see with my eyes and scribble with my hand, that I never had the guts to say with my mouth.”
Since this year has started, I’ve only cried over two books. Winger by Andrew Smith is one of them. I’m not sure if it’s Ryan Dean’s moving, realistic voice that had me hooked, or if it was the way I could easily relate to the character and connect with them on such an intense level that made it so hard for me to accept that the book has ended. I felt for every character, even the assholes who I think I would have killed.
Winger has very short chapters which makes it almost impossible to put it down. Something is always happening with this book that makes readers either cry, laugh, or both. Throughout the novel Ryan Dean and have their moments especially with the teacher, I loved reading about Mrs. Singer and all of her crazy spells that she casts on Ryan Dean. But believe it or not, the protagonist was not my favourite character nor is he the reason for all my heartbreak and sobbing. That awards belongs to his best friend, Joey who, from the second he came into the story stole my heart and soul. Every obstacle he’s faced with I was right there willing to jump into the novel and kill anyone who threatened him. Andrew Smith has written a beautiful story about some of the shit that teenagers go through that they truly shouldn’t. Over words. Over labels that should absolutely nothing but of course, mean everything to some people. I fell in love with this book from the very beginning and even now, while I write this review, I am still crying over the ending.
What. A. Fucking. Ending.
With that being said, I’m not going to spoil it for you. It may shock you, this ending but it also may not but it did bring out emotions from my toughest critic friends and their hate for reading. I recommend everyone to read this book and hopefully fall in love with this as much as I have. It’s beautiful. It’s moving. It’s relaxed and tense at just the right moments. It’s books like this that keep me steadily reading YA novels with messages so great and moving that just thinking about them is bringing the tears back *cries for five more minutes*. Which is why Winger by Andrew Smith will always stay in my heart and be one of my favourite books from now on.
For quotes from this book, click here.