{Review} Winger by Andrew Smith

12:00 AM

Pgs: 439 (hardcover)
Publication date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
How I got the copy: Library
Rating:  4 Stars
From Goodreads:
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.

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 favorite kind of books are the ones that make you think you're just being entertained until WHAM they throw a life lesson at you.  Winger was hilariously unique and yet it taught me something completely serious and real.  

Ryan Dean West was one of my favorite characters ever because he was such a jerk, but you couldn't help but love him because he didn't mean to be a jerk it just sorta happened.  He's only fourteen and he's only trying to figure out who he is, but he keeps making such stupid mistakes and hurting people he cares about.  It made him feel real...like I could have known him in high school.  And I loved the conversational tone of the writing style.  I will warn you that there is cursing every few sentences though. 

The cartoons and hand drawn graphics that were scattered throughout this book really added to its uniqueness.  Since it's kind of a slow paced  book I looked forward to these drawings to keep my interest.  And by slow paced I mean it was more a recount of an average teen going through average experiences.  There wasn't much suspense until the last few chapters where I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.  But it was still an enjoyable read.

What I didn't like was that every few pages he would say, "Ya, I'm an idiot".  I know most fourteen year olds probably tell themselves this daily.  I'm sure I did.  But the self-deprication kind of got annoying after awhile.  Although once he does start to grow up he kind of stops saying it so I guess the author was just using that as a way to show he was maturing.

If you liked Looking For Alaska by John Green then you should definitely read Winger.  The plot, tone, and humor were all so similar.  I hate to admit this, but I think I actually liked Winger better.  It was funny, cute, and really made me stop and think.  Two thumbs up.

"I saw how Seanie was looking at me, so I just fired him back a Ha-Ha-I-just-got-Joey-to-look-at-your-balls-so-write-a-haiku-about-that, fucker expression, if there is such a thing.  But whether or not there actually is such a look, Seanie and I just had an intense and wordless conversation about Japenese poetry, his balls, and our gay friend Joey Cosentino." -Winger

"Joey told me nothing ever goes back exactly the way it was, that things expand and contract--like breathing, but you could never fill your lungs with the same air twice." -Winger
Tammy from Into The Mystic: 5 Stars
Gregory Taylor from Nerdy Book Club: 5 Stars

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