Book Review: Winger by Andrew Smith

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Winger by Andrew Smith

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: May 14, 2013

Pages: 448 (Hardcover)

good good

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.

opinion

“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.

Five Insanely Dreamy Clouds
Five Heartbreaking Clouds

For quotes from this book, click here.

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Album Review: If You Leave by Daughter

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If You Leave by Daughter

Record Label: Glassnote Records

Genre: Indie/Folk

Release Date: April 30, 2013 (Released in UK: March 2013 with 4AD Records)

Songs: 11
If You Leave - Daughter

Daughter is an indie/folk band from England. They have created songs that are filled with tales of heartbreak and death that are sung in a sweet, soft tune. Currently, the band has out three EPs-Demos, His Young Heart, and The Wild Youth and one album-If You Leave. Members are: Elena Tonra  (vocals, guitar), Igor Haefeli  (guitar), and Remi Aguilella (drums).

opinion

Daughter is the type of band that understands you without trying to. They’re trying to express themselves with their music but along the way they express you too. Or at least, they do for me. If You Leave is a story about heartbreak. It’s about feeding the monster inside of you, something, we all have and realizing that we’re still human. This entire album can easily become the backdrop for a heartfelt tv show drama. (Seriously, close your eyes and you can imagine Human, Amsterdam, Shallow as the music for Grey’s or supernatural or something super intense and heartbreaking movie/tv show.) I know I’ve been handing out high ratings for a lot of albums lately, but this band, Daughter, completely deserve it. And I cannot wait to see them this fall (hopefully).

I adore the way Daughter can make me feel with the single beat of a drum, a few chords from a guitar, and lovely sung high notes. In most of the songs, there’s an echo attached to the vocals which is something I’m very picky about. I can’t stand when songs have an echo that is useless to the song but with Daughter, they pull it off. Everything compliments each other rather than takes away from the songs. I also love how easy it is to relate to their music with lyrics about broken romances in Still with lyrics, “Biting words like a wolf howling. Hate is spitting out each others mouths. But we’re still sleeping like we’re lovers.” And no matter what, people are still human in Human with, “Buried deep within, there’s a human.” 

If You Leave by Daughter is a gorgeous album. There’s heartache, love, life, death, and well…Youth and growing up that’s shown throughout the album. I recommend this album to everyone especially to lovers of indie and acoustic music. Favourite songs off of this album are: Still, Human, Youth, and Shallows.

Five Beautiful Treble Clefs
Five Beautiful Treble Clefs

Songs On The Album (Click on the title to listen to the song!)

1. Winter-4:44

2. Smother-4:02

3. Youth-4:14

4. Still-3:33

5. Lifeforms-5:36

6. Tomorrow-4:41

7. Human-3:34

8. Touch-4:26

9. Amsterdam-4:03

10. Shallows-6:54

P.S. Daughter’s music actually has been on well-known TV shows like Grey’s anatomy, Skins, Suburgatory, Vampire Diaries, etc.

Favourite Book Quotes Of The Week#8

Tilt By Ellen Hopkins

 Favourite Quote: I don’t understand what sad means. It must be how you feel, like when you can’t find your smile.

Beautiful By Amy Reed

Favourite Quote: Maybe this is all love is and all it will ever be– boys fucking girls and pretending it’s love, girls getting fucked and pretending they like it, saying “I love you, too,” and wanting to throw up.