Winger by Andrew Smith
This book...I finally finished it after starting and stopping several times. When I put my mind to it, I still took a whole week. I hadn’t been interested because I’d started it on audiobook. I wouldn’t recommend doing that out loud where anyone else could hear it; there are multiple f-bombs dropped in the first chapters. I was scrambling to turn it off at school! Yikes! Also, there are comics and other small illustrations throughout that really add to the story. I had no idea, and would have missed out if I hadn’t actually read it.
My interest was finally perked by author Kelly Halls, when she told me that she and Andrew were best friends in high school, and she’s in this book. So, I started over with the intention of looking for her. This time, I found it funny, and when I finished it...heartbroken. I’ve had a hard time getting other people to read this book, and finish it, perhaps my own reluctance has played too big a part in that. Now, I can do a better job of “selling” it.
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.