Summary: Winger, by Andrew Smith, is about a young boy (really young for his grade) who is a junior and just fourteen. He’s in love with his best friend, Annie, who thinks he’s adorable. At the same time, as if that isn’t rough enough, he is moved to o-hall where the “bad” kids have to stay. Mind you, this isn’t the average high-school, but a school for rich kids. The worse part about staying in o-hall? Rooming with Chas Becker, bully extraordinaire. In short, Winger has to pull off staying alive in o-hall, learning how to be friends with a gay guy, and winning the heart of Annie. With rugby as a key sport and illustrations to support Winger’s thoughts, the book is both full of action and hilarity (I laughed out loud more than I ever had while reading a book). I really enjoyed this book. As always, I didn’t care for the cussing. The end was a bit sad, but it’s one of those things that made Winger grow as a character. In all, I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Pros: Realistic, well-rounded, funny, serious, entertaining and educating.
Cons: cursing (not everyone has succumbed) and…
Intended audience: middle school and high school libraries. For ages 14-18.
Reflection: I enjoyed this book. Not at first, though. I’m a picky reader, and at first I was super reluctant to read it. I even went so far as to try to find another book by the same author… none of them looked appealing. Sooo, I read it. The main reason I was reluctant was because it was in a guy’s perspective and sporty. Not what I generally read. Turns out, as I mentioned, it was well-rounded. It really depicted the sexual desires of a young boy, as well as the peer pressure inflicted upon those considered “weak.” In the end, I grew to admire Winger. In the future, when I read YA or teen books with boy protagonists, I will be on the lookout for the varying experiences the author presents and reflect on how well that depicts our youth today.
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