Winger by Andrew Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I don't know how to review a book like Winger. I've loved every single one of Andrew Smith's books. Some more that others. But each one has offered up something honest and real and beautiful. Winger is different.
I read in the NYT's review that Winger belongs to a group of books that are all very John Green in nature. And while John Green is certainly a talented writer, I think he writes the kinds of teenagers that adults wish teenagers were. Andrew Smith, on the other hand, writes teenagers as they actually are. And in that lies his magic.
Winger is both perversely hilarious and devastating. I bawled my way through the last twenty pages after laughing my way through the first 410. More than any other book Andrew has written, Winger offers up the harsh truth and beauty of being alive, of being a teenage boy. Of being any kind of teenager. This book has left me feeling really raw. Ryan Dean and Joey and Seanie and even Chas feel like real people. It's strange to think they're not out there somewhere playing poker and giving rides to Screaming Ned.
One of the best compliments I ever got as a writer was from a friend who finished one of my books, threw it at me, and told me she hated my guts.
Well, I can't throw my book at you, Andrew Smith, but I hate your guts. Thank you for that.
Also, if Winger doesn't win the Printz award this year, then I'd seriously question its credibility.
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