Winger by Andrew Smith left me stunned. The cover, the overly sexualized protagonist, the cartoon drawings…none of that prepared me for what hit me square in the heart at the end.
But I would read it again, hard hit and everything, to get to share another day with Winger. Immature, adorable (sorry, Winger!), and hilarious Winger. And Joey, because he is the truest friend. And Annie, because we’ve all let one get away because of some superficial reason. Each of Smith’s characters struggled. The language and pacing made this book a pitch-perfect YA novel. A bit crass for the ladies, but worth reading 428 pages if only to feel like I did at the conclusion of 439. Spent. But full…I still don’t know of what. Sadness? Yeah, definitely. Pain? It’s like I felt Winger’s pain. But more than that. I felt the authenticity of the novel and have been looking for Winger ever since.
I guess you want to know what the book is about. A 14-year-old high school junior (incredibly intelligent for his age, skipped a few years) at a boarding school on the west coast. He plays rugby (a few brief but fun scenes; don’t let the “sports thing” keep you from reading it), loves Annie, hates mean people (which there seem to be a lot of at Pine Mountain), and has a knack for ending up in trouble. His is a fun (albeit cringeworthy at times…just look at the cover) Junior year to follow.
It’s a story about a teenaged boy, his love life, and his friends. But oh guys, it’s so much more than that.
Boys who need a good a**-kicking, because they know what is right but still do what is wrong. Winger will bring ’em back to reality.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell was just as heart-breaking, but throughout the entire novel. Read it!
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. I just began reading this at my dinner break tonight, and I see some of the angsty-teen-boy commonalities, which I dig.