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By Andrew Smith
Simon & Schuster, 2013
Audience: Older Teens
Source: Library

I LOVED IT! Usually, when books have male protagonists, you don’t get to know the main character very much. There’s the guy, and there’s the action. This was not the case with Winger. I really enjoyed getting to know Ryan Dean and his flaws. He really did try and change, so I was definitely rooting for him. The best thing about this book was how funny it was. There were some crazy scenes that were really entertaining.

Also, I enjoyed seeing the romance from the guy’s point of view. He was conflicted and scared, but he didn’t show it to the girls. Yes, girls. Typically, when it’s from a girl’s point of view, there’s a “he loves me, he loves me not” type question. In Winger, we knew exactly how he felt, we just had to wait for him to make a move (and a decision) and hope that she felt the same way. It was nice to see the “should we be more than friends” in another way.

I will definitely re-read this one. Be prepared for a tough situation at the end, though.

From Goodreads:
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 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.