Thursday, April 2, 2015

Winger (Winger, #1)

 Winger (Winger, #1)

Author: Andrew Smith
Series: Winger, #1
Pages: 439
Challenge: Goodreads Challenge 2014
Genre: Contemporary
Acquired: Simon & Schuster Pulseit
Rating: ★★★


Goodreads Summary:

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.

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.

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.


 My Thoughts:

Ryan Dean West, also known as Winger, is definitely that kid that just doesn't fit in at his new boarding school, but maybe that's because he's two years younger than everyone in his grade. As he struggles to find his way, he learns lessons in love, friendship, and acceptance along the way.

I always root for the underdogs, and Winger is all that and more! He is a super smart 14 year old on the rugby team, and he is CRAZY and MADLY IN LOVE with his best friend Annie. I mean.... what could go wrong.... right?.... haha.... nearly everything.... and I loved every minute of it! I thought that this was well written story with a heartbreaking twist at the end that I partly saw coming. Nevertheless, I was still loved the story in its entirety!

Winger's character development: It chronicles his growth from a little, bullied kid who just wanted to get through junior year without his head stuck in a toilet.... to a boy that his peers like, respect, and in turn stick up for. I enjoyed reading about his transition especially from the perspective of Winger and how he tries to deal with the ups and downs of high school.

I would definitely say that this was different from what I expected! I had convinced myself before that I didn't want to read this book, for no real reason at all. I kept telling myself it didn't look like it was a book that I would enjoy.... DON'T judge a book by its cover guys! :) Sometimes you're pleasantly surprised.

My favorite scene was when Winger and Annie spent the weekend at her parents' house. That weekend changed EVERYTHING, it was great! I would say that what I liked most would have to be all of Winger's different friendships throughout the book, he had a way of connecting to the other characters in different ways, and I loved that he came into himself with the help of these friends. I also LOVED the cartoon aspect, it was such a unique and different way to balance out the book. I liked that although some parts of the novel were heavier and heartbreaking, the pictures incorporated with the story made for a nice balance within the funny and lighter moments. I liked least the twist at the end, but it shows the real life horrors of how far terrible and cruel individuals are willing to take their actions when all could have been avoided with acceptance.

I liked the direction Andrew Smith took this book; its storyline was well thought out and I enjoyed reading every bit of it! I tend to not pick up contemporary books because..... to be honest..... they bore me to sleep, LITERALLY, so I was naturally happy when I gave this book a chance and it kept my attention long enough to allow me to finish it and appreciate the story! I can say that I was not ecstatic about the ending as it was heartbreaking, but I was satisfied with it. This is not your average super cheesy happily-ever-after contemporary story, so if you're looking for a light, happy read, I don't this is for you.

Cover: 4/10. The man on the cover looks WAY too old to be14 year old Winger! But I love the cartoon version of him on the back.
Rating: 5/5!!! It was GREAT! Highly recommend! I thoroughly enjoyed this from start to finish especially with the incorporation of the cartoons throughout added to the overall reading experience!

If you have read this book, let me know your thoughts below!!


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