4.5 out of 5Title: Winger
Author: Andrew Smith
Series: Winger (Book 1)
Publication Year: 2014
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.
So a little bit about the book first. It's a contemporary set in a private boarding school where they have 2 different halls; one for "normal" people and the other for the "troubled." Our main character, Ryan Dean West, who is 2 years younger than everyone else in his grade, get's moved over to the hall with the "bad" kids, then all hell breaks loose. A lot of this books revolves around a main theme, rugby, and that's what ties a lot of the book together, which I find is pretty awesome because I've read way too many books where everyone is on a football team.
I think that another thing this book does really well with is staying away from clichés. I feel like I've been reading way too many contemporaries these days that just follow what sort of feels like a standard "Character A is lonely, Character A meets Character B, Character A and Character B fall in love, Character A and B break up, Character development happens now, Character A and Character B get back together. The end." Winger does sort of follow this format but not to the extent where that's the whole story. To me, the romance element in this book is shoved in your face and that's the only plot you get. I feel like with Winger, the main plot follows the protagonist's life with a few interludes into his personal life.
One thing I really loved about this book were really its characters. Everyone (and I mean everyone) in the book was fully developed and every character was full of surprises. I really can't say much without spoiling anything but really trust me on this, you won't be disappointed.
Do I recommend? Hell ya.
So really all that's left for me to say is whether I recommend this book or not. The answer to that is hell ya, this book has an amazingly different plot, an awesome array of characters... I guarantee that this book with be one of the best books you read for a long time.