The cover of Winger is easily enough to draw in any reader, especially a teen, in. Ryan Dean West is a junior at boarding school. He excels at academics and rugby, despite being two years younger than his classmates. He does not excel in relationships with girls or staying out of trouble. His love interest, Annie, is in his class but sees him as a kid brother. She also has a pug (!!!) so already I was on her side. Ryan Dean (he has two first names, btw) is an artist, so there are little comics spread throughout the story to enhance the storyline. Despite being about 450 pages, this was a super fast read, yet I wanted to savor it as best I could. There is a lot of profanity in this book, so it's probably better for older teens. This title is also on the list of potential Printz Award books that I'm reading for my bookclub. In my opinion, it's definitely Printz Honor worthy. We'll see!
My rating: 4.5 stars
Summary 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.