Book review- Winger by Andrew Smith

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

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Winger and Standoff (sequel) displayed on my very grown-up bedsheets. I’ll admit the covers aren’t the prettiest, but the stories are just perfect.

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.

The characters

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.

 

Plot

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.

 

Structure

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?

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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:

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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.

 

Conclusion

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?

Bloggingsunsets

Wait…What?

*SIRENS*

I bought a prom dress.

Although this doesn’t sound shocking, it is, because I’m me, and I’m the least prom-dressy person you could meet.

My general attire ranges from jeans and a t-shirt to jeans, t-shirt and hoodie. The fact that I BOUGHT A FREAKING DRESS WITH SPARKLES ON is out of this world.

Wanna see what it looks like?! Sure ya do.

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I look awkward and you can’t even see my face.

This is a pretty big thing for me. I mean, it is for everyone, but at school I wear no makeup and always wear my hair in a simple ponytail. And on non-uniform days it’s the classic jeans-t-shirt combo. My whole year will see me dressed up properly at prom, and that’s super scary.

I’m proud of myself for getting this far, as I actually thought that I wasn’t going to go to prom. However, I’ve now decided just to bite the bullet about the whole wear-a-dress thing, and go. And, I even like the dress!

(I also bought shoes, but they’re too painful to mention. Literally. They hurt my feet.)

Without a doubt, it will be embarrassing and uncomfortable at prom, but I think going will be worth it. I’m not getting my hair or makeup done anywhere because that’s too far for me. I’ll just do it at home with my beauty-pro sister.

It’s not just the dressing up that scares me, it’s what everyone thinks of you. There’s a GROUP CHAT with loads of girls in the year in, and it’s for putting your dress on so no one else buys it. In other words, it’s a territorial ‘DO NOT BUY MY DRESS ON PAIN OF DEATH’ billboard. We may as well go to the shop and URINATE all over our dresses.

I’m not on the chat (I don’t have the social media it’s on) but people have offered to put my dress on it. But I really could not care less if someone wears the same thing. My only fear is that they’d be angry at me.

Everyone takes it way too seriously. I mentioned to a couple of girls in my French class that I’m not gonna get my hair and makeup done professionally, and you could practically TASTE their judgement in the air. Like, really? Who honestly cares?

I understand that prom is a really big exciting thing for some people, and that’s cool, I wish I was as enthusiastic. But people are just way too into it. Just calm down please. Stop judging me. Stop caring so much about this flippant little prom.

Okay, that’s harsh. But that’s honestly how I feel when people won’t shut up about the 12344890 dresses they’re trying to choose between.

The teachers basically encourage this as well. In assembly, the presenting teacher said “and girls, you’ll probably be wearing fake tan”.

Hahahahaha no. Well, not me.

Anyway. That’s a long enough angry rant. In conclusion, I’m proud of myself for getting a dress. Prom is a huge social stress fest but that’s fine. I’ll deal. 🙂

bloggingsunsets

A lil blog makeover

Hello guys! Hope you’re all having a good week. I haven’t posted in a while, but I am alive, I promise. Just busy!

I’ve been thinking about my blog identity. And I’ve decided: I’m changing it. Because a) I don’t like how ‘bloggingsunsets’ doesn’t have a capital, and b) I’ve not seen another blog with a name identical to the URL. And yeeesss, I could have just changed it ages ago, but I kinda became attached to my title.

Anyway, here’s the plan. I haven’t changed anything yet because I want opinions on it!

Blog URL: bloggingsunsets (the same.)

Blog name: Blogging Sunsets (not a big change really but I feel like it is!)

Me: Sunset (this is the one I’m thinking about most. I reckon it would be nice if I had a name of sorts, rather than just being ‘bloggingsunsets’.)

PLEASE comment what you think! About my ideas or any alternatives of your own. I seriously need other opinions on this.

Also, I feel slightly demanding asking, but does anyone make headers, or know someone who does (for free? ) I’ll need a new one if I change my blog, and although I love my current one, it’s time for an update, I think. Maybe I’ll dabble in some graphic art myself! (CAN’T WAIT TO SEE HOW THAT’LL TURN OUT.)

bloggingsunsets (for the last time..? Mwahahaha.)

 

 

 

(How many brackets did I use in this post? I can hear my English teacher yelling at me: “Vary your punctuation!”)

Q&A with eelblogs!

Hi guys! This is a little collab with the fabulous eelblogs, where we answered random questions. Before you continue, you need to follow eelblogs (if you aren’t already.) It’s such a great blog! Okay, let’s commence with the questions. Hope you enjoy the responses!

1.      What is your favourite Disney film and why?

Me:

 I think Monsters Inc. I just love the characters and the cute, crazy story. Toy Story used to be my favourite when I was little (I had a Buzz Lightyear costume). Never been one for Disney princesses, but I do like The Princess and the Frog and Tangled, too!

eelblogs:

My favourite Disney film has to be either The Little Mermaid, Aladdin or Hercules. If I had to choose I would pick Hercules because it’s so funny and Hades is one of my favourite villains.

2.      What’s the best book you’ve read and why?

Me:

Geez, this is a difficult question. There are so many books that I adore. I think my favourite series is the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas.

eelblogs:

This would be Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon because it such an interesting book. I was interested throughout the whole book because I found the love story so beautiful, and I was intrigued by the black page, so that kept me interested.

3.      If you could pick someone fictional, alive, or dead, who would you pick and why?

Me:

 In terms of fictional people, I’d pick Magnus Bane from the Mortal Instruments, because he will forever be my favourite book character. Otherwise, I’d either pick Misha Collins (Castiel in Supernatural) or Brandon Flowers (singer in The Killers.) They’re all super cool; I don’t think I’d actually ever be able to choose.

eelblogs:

I would pick Dan and Phil (Danisnotonfire and Amazingphil) because I love watching their videos, Tris Prior from Divergent because she’s awesome, and Hazel Grace from The Fault In Our Stars because I love her character. Her cancer story is so interesting because she’s been in and out of hospital, and is on a new type of medication that didn’t work on many people but it works for her!

4.      Do you prefer The Hunger Games, Divergent or Harry Potter?

Me:

 I’m going to have to go with Harry, because the Wizarding World is so AWESOME that I just want to jump into it. Who doesn’t want to hop on the Hogwarts Express, with a wand and an owl and spellbooks? It would be a dream. Except Voldemort.

eelblogs:

I love them all but Harry Potter is slightly better because Magic!!! But I don’t fancy meeting Mr you-know-who with no nose.

5.      What is your perfect date?

Me:

 Honestly? Couldn’t tell you. I think as long as the person I’m with is nice, any date would also be that.

eelblogs:

Barefoot walk on the beach after a candle-lit dinner.

6.      What is your least favourite food?

Me:

 Fish- I can never enjoy it, I have to force it down. Except fish fingers and fish cakes. You know, the healthiest kind of fish.

eelblogs:

I would say spicy food because I can’t do spicy. My brother jokes about this and says I find oxygen spicy.

7.      What is your current favourite pastime?

Me:

For Christmas, I got a new game for my computer called Stardew Valley. It’s honestly the cutest game ever! It’s like, farming, but there are so many other parts to it, like the townspeople in the game who you can make friends with. So yeah, that’s how I’ve

been spending my time!

eelblogs:

Writing!

8.      Would you ever do a bungee jump?

Me:

 Yes! 100%. It would be so amazing. Terrifying, I won’t deny, but also an incredible  experience.

eelblogs:

No. I’m scared of heights! And dying!

9.      Who was your celebrity childhood crush?

Me:

 Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who. Haha.

eelblogs:

I was OBSESSED with Chris Hemsworth (Thor). One time last year I was watching the second Thor film and I started to cry with embarrassment because my mum was in the room with me!

10.  If you could become any animal, what would you become?

Me:

 Definitely a bird, so that I could fly, but it would have to be a really cool bird, not, like, a crow. So maybe a peregrine falcon? That would be great. Swoosh.

eelblogs:

Because it doesn’t state if it’s a mythical animal I will say a unicorn but if I had to pick a real animal I would say a dog because I can sleep, play and have hugs all day!

And that’s the end! It took me ages to put together, because when I copied it off my emails there were loads of weird spaces and enters. It looked like abstract poetry or something…

Byeeeee!

bloggingsunsets

I’ve chosen my A-levels

HEY everyone! Hope you’re all having a good week. As for me, going back to school has been less painful than I expected. Except friend drama. That’s painful. But I’ll survive!

Anyway, this post is about my options for sixth form. We had to pick a couple of weeks ago, and I thought I’d put it here to share as a bit of an insight as to me at school.

First of all, I am a bit of a nerd. So it’s four nerdy subjects. But that’s okay, right?

My options:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Geography
  • History (just as an AS.)

So there you have it! I actually didn’t really want to take history. I was torn between geography and English literature, but both of those can only be taken for A level, not AS. And I knew I wasn’t going to sacrifice either science for one of them. So I chose geoggers (as my brother suggests I should refer to it as) over English, and took history as the last option.

I know I’m going to regret dropping English, but I think geography might be easier to get a good grade in.

Anyone know whether subjects need capital letters? I guess that’s just proof that I shouldn’t take English.

I’d like to hear what people think about these choices! I still have time to change (before it’s too late…)

bloggingsunsets (which actually does need  a capital, I know, but for some reason I don’t put one) x

Realising that I have to go back to school and revise and then do GCSEs and then A levels and then…

Hi guys! I’m back from a wild week in the Alps terrifying myself on skis. And now that I am back, there’s only today left until school. And school means not just working in that 6 hours, but also full-steam-ahead on the extra revision. I did zero in the holidays (despite ominous warnings from my teachers) so I feel like I really need to start now.

And the thing is, I really hate revision. When I was younger I despised homework, but revision is SO MUCH WORSE.

It’s a bottomless pit of textbooks, videos and coloured highlighters. A pit that I’m about to fall down, and then when do I stop? This is how I see it happening:

Now: revise for GCSEs.

1 year: revise for one AS, whilst also keeping on top of 3 A levels.

2 years: REVISION FOR 3 LIFE-CHANGING QUALIFICATIONS WHICH COULD DETERMINE MY ENTIRE LIFE.

3 years + : university, and all the stressful revision it brings with it.

And I’m thinking (obvs not definite but if I had to choose right now) medicine at uni. So that’s like a really long difficult full-time course, which requires horribly high A level results. Why?!

In conclusion: I’m petrified for the future! I don’t know if I can handle the revision spiral. More than that, I REALLY DON’T WANT TO!

bloggingsunsets

 

Skiing and I aren’t friends

Hello guys!

I’m going skiing soon, but the thing is, my history with skiing isn’t particularly great.

The first time I went skiing, I fell off a cliff.

There weren’t any injuries, luckily- pretty suprising, considering the size of the drop! That was with the school, and everyone thought I’d been gravely injured as they saw a stretcher being skiied down the hill. But that wasn’t for me, I was still stuck at the bottom of the drop.

As for the second time..Well.

Imagine being at the back of a line of skiiers, waiting to go down the slope. Everyone zig-zags across well enough, and smiles at the cameraman who happens to be taking photographs at that exact time and place.

Then it’s your turn. You’re determined to do well in front of the camera. You set off. A fantastic parallel turn! It’s all going well. You get closer and closer to the cameraman, feeling more and more confident with every metre.

Suddenly your skiis slide over each other-you’re losing balance! In a flash your mouth is full of snow. You distantly hear the cameraman’s laugh.

“Nice moment!” He says, grinning.

Annnd… That was me, of course. Not to mention the times I fell off lifts. Yeah, not good, huh?

I do love skiing but it also terrifies me. I hate the idea of getting a horrible injury and it’s all I think about when someone mentions skiing.

To be honest, I’ll probably get there and be totally fine. And enjoy it a lot. But for now-fear!

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Since I am going away I probably won’t be seeing everyone’s posts or replying to comments etc for around a week. So bye guys! Wish me luck on the death traps  slopes!

bloggingsunsets