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.
Winger was not the book I was expecting. I went in thinking this was going to be an average, quick read but what I got was so much more. To start Ryan Dean is a your typical fourteen-year-old and has many thoughts I’m going to assume most fourteen-year-old boys have. I personally was never a fourteen-year-old boy but I knew plenty. There were so many scenes where I really question if this book was actually written by a fourteen-year-old. OK a fourteen-year-old who can articulate himself very well. (I swear I’m done using fourteen-year-old!) The authenticity made me really appreciate Smith’s writing style and I look forward to reading his other characters.
This book is filled with a great cast. Our narrator Ryan Dean was absolutely hilarious in not only his internal dialogue, but his interactions with other characters as well. There is one scene where he gets a package from his mother and I about died of laughter from not only his mother’s note but how Ryan Dean reacted to everything inside. He is honestly one of the funniest narrators I have read. Ryan Dean has quite a few interesting friends that all have their own unique stories. I fell in love with Joey’s character and wish more openly gay characters were portrayed in this way. The commentary that Ryan Dean had about how people reacted to Joey was so truthful and realistic. We need more Joeys!
The romance in this book was never incredibly important to me. I feel like that’s saying something because I am a sucker for some good romance. I’m not saying the romance was bad or forced, it just took the backseat to all the hardships, life lessons and jokes Ryan Dean was cracking.
Overall this was a fanatic book that I found hard to put down. If you are a fan of humor and having your emotions on a roller coaster, you should run to pick this book up. You will not be let down.