Young Adult, Contemporary
Part of a Series?:
Book #2 of Winger series
September 8th, 2015
You Can Find the Book At:
It’s his last year at Pine Mountain, and Ryan Dean should be focused on his future, but instead, he’s haunted by his past. His rugby coach expects him to fill the roles once played by his lost friend, Joey, as the rugby team’s stand-off and new captain. And somehow he’s stuck rooming with twelve-year-old freshman Sam Abernathy, a cooking whiz with extreme claustrophobia and a serious crush on Annie Altman—aka Ryan Dean’s girlfriend, for now, anyway.
Equally distressing, Ryan Dean’s doodles and drawings don’t offer the relief they used to. He’s convinced N.A.T.E. (the Next Accidental Terrible Experience) is lurking around every corner—and then he runs into Joey’s younger brother Nico, who makes Ryan Dean feel paranoid that he’s avoiding him. Will Ryan Dean ever regain his sanity?
While this review will remain spoiler-free, there is no guarantee that there will not be spoilers for Winger. Please click here for that review.
I was so unbelievably excited to get my hands on this novel. It took so long, to me, for this book to finally hit the shelves. I’m also pretty sure I drove everyone insane by trying to get my hands on an ARC, which inevitably failed. Sigh. So I had to wait like the rest of you for this book to hit shelves.
I went to the book event at the Grove to go see Andrew and get my hands on it. He read aloud from it, and from beginning to end, I laughed. I knew exactly what I was in for once I started this book.
And yet I didn’t know. Let’s be honest, from the beginning, this is definitely an Andrew Smith book. It made me laugh, and it had that sort of randomness, that quirkiness that just makes me so happy when I read his books. Ryan Dean is still random and smart as hell and full of random thoughts. I love his drawings and I love the relationship that he has with Annie. That is absolutely beautiful. I love that it progresses and its not all sunshine and rainbows, but there’s work to it, like any relationship. I love that realism. I love the humor. The “friendship” between Ryan Dean and the Abernathy just had me cracking up the entire book, especially every time Ryan Dean told him to stop talking. It made me laugh so hard.
But what I love about this book is how much we see Ryan Dean change and grow up and deal with the things that happened to him in Winger. With Joey’s death brings a lot of problems for Ryan Dean West, and its interesting to see a character you know so well deal with that. He’s not the same person. He’s lost a bit of his goofiness, and he’s afraid to befriend anyone, because of what happened to his best friend. I think Andrew has a way of capturing it that’s just great. You’re laughing, like always, but you’re also right there with Ryan Dean, experiencing the same things that he is, and the panic attacks felt incredibly real. I experience them periodically and those scenes hit me hard.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to the sequel. I was just glad to have Ryan Dean back. Winger is one of my favorite books period. I definitely expected a lot of laughs, and a lot of randomness and a lot of really cool comics and drawings. All of that was delivered. But the super human story of Ryan Dean and his relationship with Annie and his relationship with his roommate, Sam, and dealing with all the things that are piled up on top of him…that was unexpected but completely beautiful. Because that’s one of the things that makes Andrew the incredible writer that he is; he’s able to be funny and emotional and romantic and a hundred of different emotions at the same time, and bring it all together for a really well-written, character-driven, fantastic story. Another absolute winner, and is now sitting on my “favorites” shelves, right alongside Winger.
Basically…the whole book made me feel like this…
5 out of 5 Stars