Smith Andrew
A teen at boarding school grapples with life, love, and rugby in this unforgettable novel that is “alternately hilarious and painful, awkward and enlightening” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).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. Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications with the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics. 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 infographics 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.


Reviewed: 2016-11-22

Read.  This.  Book.

I really cannot say more about this book.  Winger is, in my humble opinion, a must-read for teens and teachers.  Andrew Smith creates this living, breathing fourteen-year-old named Ryan Dean West that encompasses much of what it is to be a modern teen, and even more so, a modern human being. 

Winger tackles (quite literally at points) what it means to royally screw up and deal with the consequences, what it means to get your act together, and what the phrase “life is fickle” means.  It wrestles (again, quite literally) with being heartbreakingly hopeless in love and having no clue what to do next, with making fast friends with a gay classmate, with the price of staying true to yourself.  It illustrates (still quite literally) a boy who stands up for himself against not only others but himself, in an awkwardly adolescent bildungsroman.


Ryan Dean West is the contemporary Holden Caulfield.  He bumbles and fumbles most everything; he is annoying and abdominal-forming funny; he takes us on a search for self amongst the pressures and stigmas of our modern society.  Ultimately, he shows us change is possible, and just how precious that change is.  I would teach Winger in my classroom in a heartbeat, and have already recommended it to several of my students-to-be and colleagues as a good companion to Catcher in the Rye.  I think Winger truly brings the themes of that classic into a modern light, and gives us a story and characters we can all relate to and learn from.

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@mikaanna completed #winger... on 2016-03-18