Saturday, 17 January 2015

REVIEW || Winger by Andrew Smith

Book Title: Winger (Winger #1)
Author: Andrew Smith
Publisher: Penguin, June 5th, 2014
Source: Bought!
Format: Paperback, 438 pages
LinksGoodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old boy 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 humour, 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.
Winger is a book I’ve been conflicted about for months, literally, and it’s only now that I finally decided to get on with it and write my review. Basically, in the simplest form that I could possibly put it; everything I loved about this book, I also disliked to some extent too. Having become and instant fan of Smith’s after reading my first book of his, Grasshopper Jungle, early in 2014; I was so excited to get my hands on this (thank-you Sophie!) that all I did the day it arrived was stare at it in anticipation.

Ryan Dean was a well written character with a personality that jumped straight off the pages (helped no less by the fun comics and drawings in the book) – you couldn’t help but find him adorable, even though I doubt he’d agree. But he could also be a whiny little marshmallow at times, and that just rubbed me the wrong way, there’s really no getting over it, for me. On that note, Annie (Ryan Dean’s best friend, who he is also in love with) also really annoyed me, not for any particular personality trait, but just in general I didn’t view her as a very good friend.

The book itself was really easy to get into and everything flowed really well, Winger also has one of my favourite secondary characters, Joey. I have to say that whilst there is plenty of plot progression, there isn't much of a plot itself, and I think for some people that might be a bit off putting.

I will say that how much I loved and hated this book surprised me, mainly because of how vehement it was/is. More accurately, it’s like I want to love this, a lot, but there’s also all these flaws that should reduce it to a terrible piece of fiction, but it just doesn’t. If anything it just makes the book even more fantastic, if I’m honest. As with all Andrew Smith’s books it was bloody well written, and not afraid to stay away from the good stuff (a.k.a. Gatorade bottle not filled with Gatorade) and there was lots of real gritty teen talk, and I don’t mean sleepover gossip, I mean real school struggles – it truly is a coming of age story.

With Smith’s books you can be sure there’ll be something interesting that changes the game, and Winger didn’t disappoint in that department either, the ending was punch to the gut. I was quite literally gobsmacked when I read it. Overall, Winger is a really excellent YA contemporary – real, touching, and combined with Smith’s trademark writing style it made for one hell of a book. 

Rating = 4 Bookish Birds
Edit: After a bit of deliberation I've brought the book down to 3.5 bookish birds!

1 comment:

  1. No wonder you were putting off writing this review - I wouldn't know how to put into words how the problems I thought I had weren't exactly problems at all. However, you pulled it off. Great review! ;D

    When I first heard of this book, I didn't think much of it. But so many people have said how greatly they enjoyed this book and now I really want to pick it up. I love how everyone's saying it is a realistic and relatable coming of age story!


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