Sunday, June 23, 2013

Calling It for the Printz: "Winger" by Andrew Smith

I will absolutely get to the comments you guys have posted over the past several days, put up your book reviews, AND welcome our new blogger(s) (by the way, did I mention we have new bloggers! so awesome!), but right now I just want to direct everyone's attention to this book ------------>

It's Winger by Andrew Smith, and I'm calling this one now: it's definitely my pick for the 2014 Printz award (honoring what the judges consider to be the past year's best YA book).  To sum it up quick and dirty, it's about 14-year-old Ryan Dean West, a junior (yes that's right, he's a 14-year-old junior) at a northwestern elite private school for rich kids.  Ryan is pretty much a normal teenage dude: he's in love with a "smoking hot" girl (his best friend, who's 16 and thinks of Ryan Dean as a little kid), gets into fights with jerks, plays sports (rugby, which I never found particularly interesting until Winger), and he's navigating that tricky terrain between constantly feeling like a loser and not actually being a loser.  Oh, and he's constantly thinking about the stuff that pretty much all teenage boys think about (I won't say anything more about that other than wink wink).

It's an incredibly funny book that chronicles the everyday misadventures of Ryan Dean West (there's all kinds of comics scattered throughout the store), but ultimately Winger (named after Ryan Dean's position on the rugby team, which is also his nickname) is a tragicomedy.  I won't say anything more, other than that something pretty life-changing--no, very life-changing--happens at Pine Mountain that....Well, that changes Ryan Dean's life (hence, you know, the life-changing thing).

It's hard to say a lot about this book without giving away major plot points, but I will say it's one of my top reads of 2013 so far.  I'd strongly recommend it, especially for anyone 14+, but please be aware that Winger contains graphic language and semi-graphic themes (you know, the whole wink wink and all).  In other words, it contains the kinds of language you'd probably hear kids saying in most high schools; it contains the kind of words you'll probably hear (and probably already do hear) in real life.

Winger is a fairly mature read that may not be for everyone.

Go read it.*

*Unless you don't want to.  Or wait a couple of years, and then read it.  It's worth the wait!


  1. now I REALLY want to read it! Luckily I am going to the library later today!

  2. oh. my. gosh. such a great book... and I am on pg 181...I got it 2 hrs ago.I love the "diagrams". But I WILL NOT give away anything other than I love seanie...and tanvis right it is a mature book.still so AMAZING!

    1. I'm glad you love it! The end is....AMAZING. And intense. There's so much I want to say about it but I can't :/

      What are you loving the most about the book so far? I love the way everyone talks and how they treat that one gay kid who the rugby guys are all friends with but are also still kind of a jerk to. Even though a lot of the things the characters say aren't all that nice / are sometimes just gross, it also sounds totally real. You know how like, a lot of book characters talk and think like they're like, twice their age? Like they're actually secretly mini-adults? Not a ton of that in Winger :)

    2. I actually finished it that night...around 1 AM haha I can't believe the end... That was done in about 7 pgs!!! I bet the author was up one night and was about to start a new chapter but was really tired and just decided that he would do that...I love Wingers humor! That is definatly a great book! I still love each little bird that sings...I will always refer to it as my favorite even if it is a younger age book!

  3. I really liked the end and how it kind of came out of nowhere. I think some readers wished there had been more of a build-up to what happened in the end, but I'm glad there wasn't since, you know, stuff like that DOES just happen even when no one expected it or is prepared for it.

    I loved Winger's humor too!

  4. Wow...just--wow. I finished this just now. SO good. Incredible. Wow. That was unexpected.