Winger by Andrew Smith
Young Adult | Contemporary | Realistic Fiction
Published by Simon & Schuster on May 14, 2013
Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids in the Pacific Northwest. 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.
Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics 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.
There’s something incredibly refreshing about a book that focuses on growing up (Ryan Dean is 14 years old) and living your life yet still follows a plot. Although the plot wasn’t mountain moving like saving a country or destroying a government, it was very clear: get Annie to fall in love with Ryan Dean. That wasn’t exactly an easy task considering Ryan Dean was 14 and Annie was 16 along with the fact that Ryan Dean thinks every girl is hot. He’s also a major pervert.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you,” Annie said. “Did you bring any swim trunks? We have an indoor pool and Jacuzzi.”
“Wow,” I said. “No. I didn’t.”
I looked down, then shrugged and looked over at Annie and whispered, “I’ll go without.”
Therefore, not am I only glad that I get to read about a hilariously perverted 14 year old boy, I get to read a hilariously perverted 14 year old boy who learns that life is more about girls and more about living.
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Me Since You by Laura Wiess
Young Adult | Contemporary | Romance
Published by MTV Books on February 18, 2014
Laura Wiess captures the visceral emotion of a girl’s journey from innocence to devastating loss and, ultimately, to a strange and unexpected kind of understanding—in this beautiful and painfully honest new novel.
Are there any answers when someone you love makes a tragic choice?
Before and After. That’s how Rowan Areno sees her life now. Before: she was a normal sixteen-year-old—a little too sheltered by her police officer father and her mother. After: everything she once believed has been destroyed in the wake of a shattering tragedy, and every day is there to be survived.
If she had known, on that Friday in March when she cut school, that a random stranger’s shocking crime would have traumatic consequences, she never would have left campus. If the crime video never went viral, maybe she could have saved her mother, grandmother — and herself — from the endless replay of heartache and grief.
Finding a soul mate in Eli, a witness to the crime who is haunted by losses of his own, Rowan begins to see there is no simple, straightforward path to healing wounded hearts. Can she learn to trust, hope, and believe in happiness again?
NOTE: I received this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Before reading this book, I wanted to pick up a nice feel-good contemporary book with a love interest that would make me want to swoon. Imagine my surprise when I cried halfway through reading this book. That’s right, guys. I cried during this book. The emotional roller coaster that this book put me through was something that I was not anticipating whatsoever. I honestly had no idea how to cope with the idea that I was crying for a fictional character (I rarely cry for books or movies or TV shows. Just so you know, I did cry for Flat-Out Love though).
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