Winger: Book summary and reviews of Winger by Andrew Smith

Winger by Andrew Smith X
Winger by Andrew Smith
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  • Published in USA  May 2013
    448 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. 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 infographics 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The last-minute twist may leave readers confused...but this remains an excellent, challenging read. Ages 12–up." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Bawdily comic but ultimately devastating, this is unforgettable. Fiction. 14 & up." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Much of the story seems preoccupied with the base-level joys and torments of being a teenager, content to float along with occasional bursts of levity from some nonessential but fun minicomics by Bosma. But at its heart, it is more in line with Dead Poets Society, and by the end this deceptively lightweight novel packs an unexpectedly ferocious punch." - Booklist

"Winger broke my heart, like any great book should. Andrew Smith is a brave and talented storyteller who blows me away every time. Readers will love Ryan Dean West. This book is powerful, sweet and heart-wrenching." - A. S. King, Printz Honor-winning author of Please Excuse Vera Dietz

"Winger is one of the most honest and beautifully raw novels I've read in a long time. Ryan Dean is a true original." - Matt de la Peña, author of Mexican WhiteBoy and We Were Here

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Reader Reviews

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Alan

Winger has it easy
The author gives the title character every advantage: we learn he's got a cool name and the coolest team nickname, he's the smartest boy in school, he's an incredibly talented artist, he's the handsomest boy on campus (according to the two hottest girls, who are both after him in their own way), he's a star player on the rugby team But throughout, Winger keeps telling us he's a loser. There's no proof of that whatsoever, nor of a deep friendship he supposedly wrecks with a former roommate. He keeps whining about being younger than others in his class, but it apparently makes no real difference to them. And despite having two hot girlfriends, he is extremely sexist and misogynistic - not a single female character avoids being ranked for "hotness." Also, Winger mentions his genitals on NEARLY EVERY PAGE. I kid you not. In the end, he sails right through the story (which has no real shape but just goes on and on) without learning any lessons or earning any prize that wasn't ready to be handed to him at the very beginning. Throughout, he's lucky to be backed up by at least one truly loyal, fearless, wise friend, whom he lets down in the most tragic way possible in the end - though Winger doesn't acknowledge that guilt at all - the author just quits. Cleverly written, but lame.

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Author Information

Andrew Smith Author Biography

Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Grasshopper Jungle (2015 Michael L. Printz Honor, 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Carnegie Medal Longlist) and Winger. He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. The Alex Crow, a starred novel by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and Booklist, is his ninth novel. He lives in Southern California.

Link to Andrew Smith's Website

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