Hi everyone! This is the first book review I’ve ever done on this blog, so I’m not really sure what you’ll think of it-it may be SUPER BORING and you might wanna leave now. On the other hand it could be AMAZING… be sure to comment what you think, and whether I should continue with reviews in the future.
Before I start, (although I guess it is part of the review) I want to say that this book is the best I’ve read in absolutely ages, and I recommend it to everyone! Even if you don’t read the review, YOU SHOULD FIND THIS BOOK AND READ IT INSTEAD. Seriously.
Winger by Andrew Smith
Ryan Dean West’s life is complicated.
He’s a student at Pine Mountain, a boarding school for rich kids. He’s sharing a room with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s totally in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little kid.
…Sounds like your typical teenage school book, doesn’t it? Well, in some ways it is- bullies, crushes and all that- but the thing about Winger is that it’s so down-to-earth, funny, honest and truthful that it stands out among other same-genre books.
Ryan Dean is the main character. The book is from his perspective, as if he’s written it himself. He’s a 14-year old trying to make it through school with classmates 2 years older than him. I don’t have that much in common with Ryan Dean, but I can relate to everything he says. His emotions and responses to events in the book are so genuine I wouldn’t be surprised if it was actually Andrew Smith’s biography, just with a different name. Throughout the book you like Ryan Dean more and more, you understand him more and by the end YOU JUST WANT HIM TO SUCCEED IN EVERYTHING HE DOES BECAUSE HE’S PRECIOUS.
And obviously there are other characters. Annie, Ryan Dean’s best friend/extreme crush, source of frustration for Ryan Dean and consequently the reader throughout the book. Chas Becker, roommate/bully, source of humour and fear. And some other very important friends of Ryan Dean, but I don’t want to ruin anything or talk for too long about characters.
Okay, so, there isn’t that much I can say about the plot without major spoilers, and I don’t even want to hint at anything. But what I can say is that the whole book is thoroughly entertaining. I was laughing and crying (and I hardly ever cry at books) and I devoured it in a couple of days.
It mostly revolves around Ryan Dean’s school life. Rugby, Annie and friend issues are major themes, as well as the new dormitory Ryan Dean is assigned to. It all spirals into a seriously addictive plot which I’m pretty sure can’t not be enjoyed.
Don’t worry, English students, I’m not going to talk about how short sentences are used to interest and engage the reader. I’m going to mention the comics and doodles smattered throughout Winger.
DO NOT be disheartened by the comics. At first I was skeptical about a teen fiction with pictures, but IT DOESN’T MAKE THE BOOK CHILDISH, it makes it funnier, and more like Ryan Dean really has written/drawn it all himself.
There are comic strips like these every now and again. I do have one criticism of them-in this one, Ryan Dean was supposed to have drawn it in Lit class. I find it a little unbelievable that he drew an extremely-well rendered comic out of nowhere in the middle of a lesson. Or is that just me?
But in general the comics were really entertaining. (In Stand Off, the sequel, I think the comics are even better, especially ‘Princess Snugglewarm to the Rescue.’ No spoilers though.)
The other drawings are smaller and quicker, just a visual insight into Ryan Dean’s head at the time:
All of the comics are hilarious. The book is hilarious, actually. However, it’s not just a comedy, it has a serious plotline which gets even deeper in the sequel.
All in all, Winger was a 5/5 terms and conditions on the Bloggingsunsets Things You Are Obliged to Read Index.
(That was an extremely poor attempt at a Winger joke. Go read it and then come back and laugh at me.)
A final note: THANKS SO MUCH, ANDREW SMITH! THIS BOOK (AND STANDOFF) ARE INCREDIBLE!
That’s the end guys! Please tell me what you thought. Has anyone else read Winger?