❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ ❋I truly hope Winger by Andrew Smith will be in the running for the 2014 Printz award.
Winger manages to be a raw, refreshing, laugh-out-loud funny, powerful, and gut-wrenching coming-of-age story all at the same time.
Ryan Dean (and yes that is his first name) West, a 14 year old junior, just needs to get a handle on school, sports, and his friends at Pine Mountain boarding school but then life gets complicated. Complicated in ways that he can't begin to prepare for or even imagine. He has to find a way to hold on to what matters most in the wake of horrific tragedy and loss.
I really enjoyed Ryan Dean's tone and sense of humor, including his comics and illustrations throughout (except Part 4 that is). It felt very real to me, like Ryan Dean and his friends were students I could expect to bump into during school.
As much as I liked Ryan Dean, Joey quickly became my favorite. That being said, I was left gutted by the end of the novel. I wasn't completely taken by surprise by the turn of events, but I must say I was hoping for a reasonably happy ending for the central cast of characters.
This book was read from August 28 - September 1, 2013 and the review can also be found on Goodreads.