Winger, Andrew Smith


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One Response to “Winger, Andrew Smith”

  1. bachbooks Says:

    Ryan Dean West, a 14 year old junior at Oregon’s Pine Mountain boarding school, loves his classmate Annie Altman and fantasizes about dating her. She finds him “adorable,” but has trouble seeing past his age. After getting into trouble his sophomore year, Ryan Dean begins his junior year living in Opportunity Hall, an unpleasant (and possibly cursed) residence for students on probation, with meathead senior Chas Becker as his roommate. When Chas’ beautiful girlfriend Megan begins to pursue Ryan Dean, he turns to his new friend Joey for advice. Deciding to stay true to the unattainable Annie or succumb to the illicit temptations of Megan is just one of the many dilemmas Ryan Dean faces as he struggles to survive his junior year.

    In Ryan Dean “Winger” West, Andrew Smith has created the most memorable adolescent narrator since Sherman Alexie’s Arnold “Junior” Spirit. Winger shifts from laugh out loud funny to tender, wistful, and touching with the turn of a page or two. While I’m not a huge fan of rugby or juvenile delinquents, I could relate to Ryan Dean’s crusade against the “platonic plague” as he struggled to convince Annie to see him as an acceptable boyfriend rather than just a cute pet project. While Ryan Dean may offend some readers with his frequent testicular references, descriptions of immature jock culture, and obsession with sex, Winger provides readers with a rare and realistic glimpse of what gets said and unsaid in both the secret lives of adolescent boys and in teen romantic relationships. I highly recommend Winger and eagerly await its rumored sequel.

    Rating: 4.5 stars (On the Ryan Dean scale of…)

    Recommendations: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, Looking for Alaska, Deadline, Eleanor & Park, I Am the Messenger, An Abundance of Katherines

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