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Review: Winger by Andrew Smith

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 thoughts

Winger is one of those books that you pick up and happily read and laugh along to before it unexpectedly smashes you in the chest and leaves you an emotional wreck.

I enjoyed Winger from the outset. A boarding school novel featuring a host of teenage boys was bound to raise more than a wry smile from me. I got into the characters and the setting quickly and thoroughly enjoyed finding out more about them and their story and regularly found myself chuckling away at a variety of passages. It really captures that self involved teenage stage perfectly well.

For me however the book left me a reeling mess within the last few chapters. I won't go into details but I was left stunned and it took be several days to think it over and come to terms with it. It really packs an emotional punch and I loved it for it.

All in all a book I will continue to recommend for a long time to come 


Rhys said…
In the least sadistic way possible, it's nice to see that you, too, were left traumatised!