Winger (Winger, #1)Winger by Andrew Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book.

Ryan Dean West… He’s… something else. I don’t even know what to say about this character. He seemed so real. Like RDW could possibly be a real life kid living somewhere in the pacific northwest. He is definitely a little punk and made some super terrible choices, but I love him.

At the beginning of the novel, RDW is such a fourteen year old boy. He’s horny and stupid and obsessed with girls and hell bent on reinventing himself for his junior year. Yes, he’s a fourteen year old junior because he is smart. He’s funny and as a narrator, he’s a ton of fun.

I cant help, but feel like this is the perfect book for 14-16 year old boys because it’s super irreverent, there’s a ton of cursing, and talk about sex and girls, and there are plenty of “coming of age” themes that kids of that age group think about constantly, but feel a little “guilty” about. This book feels edgy for kids that age, but it’s written in a way that’s almost innocent. If I was a mom, I’d hand this book over like, “found this, I heard it’s about rugby,” and my kind would read it and think that I had lost my mind and if I knew what the book was really about, I’d take it away. But I know, and it’s edgy, but it’s innocent and all in good fun.

Additionally, I think this book had a really awesome message, and went about delivering it in a way that wasn’t preachy. I think the author did a good job of addressing the homophobia that high school kids spew constantly without actually making anyone seem like a total jerk. It was pretty crappy how RDW constantly felt the need to point out that Joey is gay, but he’s fourteen and I feel like at that point, homosexuality may still be somewhat of a mysterious concept that maybe he didn’t quite grasp. And while he kept pointing out that Joey was gay, it was pretty obvious that he didn’t take issue with it, but that he worried what other people might think of him by association. I realize this is also pretty crappy, but at fourteen, he’s insecure. Realism. This book has it.

At the end, when RDW makes his changes and grows as a person, my grinch heart grew about 3 sizes and I wanted to hug him so hard. You’re doing great, little guy! Keep it up!

I don’t really have anything to criticize. I truly loved this book. I (almost) loved everything about it. Even the jacket art is beautiful.

But let’s talk about the formatting. Why was this double spaced? I don’t understand why this book needed to be huge? This book is giant. It’s one of the largest books on my (physical copy) favorites shelf, but it was one of my shortest reads. A lot of paper was wasted printed this because it’s double spaced and the margins are huge. It was super hard to get used to reading this. Was it a marketing ploy? Who knows, but I guess without the weird margins and spacing this girl wouldn’t have anything to bitch about- and you know me… I have to have something.

In closing, thanks Teresa for the recommendation. I truly loved it and may not have picked it up without your prompting.

As a side note, this is about my limit with sad books. I don’t do them. I don’t want to read If I Stay or Thirteen Reasons Why or anything else that is sad on purpose. Please, I am begging you, goodreads friends, do not recommend me anything that is going to make me cry anymore than this book will because I will come to your house and hold your eyelids open A Clockwork Orange style while I force you to read everything on my worst books ever shelf. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!

Why is there a sequel to this? Totally unnecessary, but who am I kidding? I’ll probably read it because I’m a total sucker.

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