Author: Andrew Smith
THIS WAS SUCH A GOOD READ AND I DID NOT WANT IT TO BE OVER!!
Ryan Dean West, also known as “Winger”, is magnificent and flawed, which just makes him all the more perfect. I can’t even deal with my love for this kid. He is 14 years old but is advanced. Being a sarcastic, funny, jock-ish genius isn’t easy. One of his greatest characteristics is that he is frightened of a lot of things but he still does whatever he feels he must – even if it means tackling someone twice his size.
Ryan Dean (that’s his entire first name … don’t ask) is, like many teenage boys, obsessed with the ladies. His main love interest is a lass called Annie Altman. The writing was good enough that I believed that he was in love with her, but I didn’t understand her appeal – she pretty much spends the entire book calling him a pervert (which he is), telling him to shut up (which he should) and talking about how she can’t love him because of the age difference (which is lame) – I just didn’t feel like she was a well-rounded character.
Chas Becker is Ryan Dean’s room mate and *sometimes* tormentor. JP and Seanie are his friends and *constant* douchebags. Joey Cosentina is his best friend and *always* beautiful. The dynamics between everyone in the story are great. You expect Ryan Dean to be teased mercilessly and bullied – and he is – but there are also levels of respect coming from unexpected people, while people who should be looking out for him are the ones betraying him.
It is a fairly simplistic story – it could be labelled a “coming of age” story if one felt inclined to do so – but Lorde is it a great one. It is set in the US but it feels like a British boarding school because of all the hijinks and whatnot. What amazed me was the epic change in tone that the story has right near the end. Without giving away any spoilers, the majority of the story is comedic, even melodramatic sometimes, and then BAM! it’s a little frightening and a lot tense.
Basically, the story broke my heart.
Some of the writing was a little tedious and repetitive – this was generally Ryan Dean mooning over the hotness of some female – but it was always quirky, witty and funny so I wasn’t overly bothered by it. I was constantly laughing throughout the entire book. The sketches were a brilliant addition – in the story Ryan Dean likes to draw cartoons and us readers get to see these! It’s such an amazing contribution and gives us greater insight into the comedic genius that is Ryan Dean.
This will definitely be a story I reread, and probably soon. I read it so quickly because I felt I had to absorb as much as I possibly could as quickly as I could. Now I need to go hug my kitty and cry for a while. You understand.