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Winger (Winger #1)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  11,651 ratings  ·  2,598 reviews
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
Hardcover, 439 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Simon & Schuster
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Aadivah Platonic. Whenever he said it he always said it was in a not gay way.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow RowellWinger by Andrew  SmithThe 5th Wave by Rick YanceyOut of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Mock Printz 2014
3rd out of 77 books — 778 voters
Allegiant by Veronica RothClockwork Princess by Cassandra ClareRequiem by Lauren OliverThe Indigo Spell by Richelle MeadUnravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
YA Novels of 2013
352nd out of 1,520 books — 10,592 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Raeleen Lemay
fuck. my. life.
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
I can't even begin to tell you how good this book was. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. I had issues with the main character, but I like when I have problems with a main character. I enjoy reading about flawed characters. It gets annoying when you read books where the main character is perfect and everybody likes them. The main character in this book goes through a transformation throughout this book and that was really neat to follow. The plot was really interesting and the book ...more
Winger is about a fourteen year old boy named Ryan Dean West who plays rugby at Pine Mountain Academy. He is very "teenage boy" if you know what I mean; hormonal, crude, and thinks he's in love with every girl he sees. He also draws some, and those cartoons are integrated right into the text of the novel.

Why am I giving this book a 1 star rating?

I am fine with saying that I just found myself too old for this book. Some people may argue that you can't be too young or old for books, but in this c
Jen Bigheart (I Read Banned Books)
How can one story make you literally crack up laughing on one page and the next you find yourself bawling your eyes out. If I could give this more than 5 measly stars I would. 440 pages of genius.
Why. Did no one. Warn me. About. This book?

No, seriously. I am flailing over your failure here, Goodreads.

Because this is a great book. Ryan Dean, genius 14-year old high school junior, is hormones and all one of the more relatable heroes I’ve run across. His (girlfriend?) Annie is equally awesome, as well as smart, athletic, possessed of fantastic parents, and (eventually) not an ageist. There’s numerous scenes filled with Exciting Rugby Action—Apparently rugby players sing? Is this a thing I’
Unpopular opinion of the day: Winger wasn't that wonderful.

Seeing all the glowing, five-star reviews of this book, I wonder if it's me who went wrong. Andrew Smith did a lot of the little things right in this in Winger. He established a consistent narrative, incorporated rugby and its rules with ease, used a boarding school as the book's setting, and featured a nice friendship between Winger, the main character, and his best friend, Joey.

But I wanted more from this 400+ page book. Several themes
I’ve got to be brutally honest, I’m not sure why this book has so many glowing reviews and award nominations. Andrew Smith is a good writer, and his truthful, unedited portrayal of teenage boys reminds me of John Green’s Paper Towns (yes, for once, the Green comparisons are actually valid). But Winger is poorly paced and as a feminist and a LGBTQ ally I found Smith’s novel deeply problematic.

Winger tells the story of Ryan Dean, a fourteen-year-old junior and rugby player at a boarding school fo
Shaun Hutchinson
May 25, 2013 Shaun Hutchinson rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
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
What-if-I-were-to-write-my-entire-review-like-this-in-a-hyphen-abusing-sort-of-way? Would-it-annoy-you-nearly-as-much-as-reading-several-sentences-like-this-on-every-single-page-of-the-book-annoyed-me? Let's-try-it:

Ryan-Dean-is-many-things. He-is-a-stupid-name-and-an-unlikeable-protagonist. He-is-the-author-of-his-own-troubles. He-is-a-loser, he-is-a-skinny-bitch-ass, and-he-is-not-gay. If-you-can't-remember-any-of-this-don't-worry-he-will-incessantly-remind-you-in-a-guy-with-alzheimer's-sort-of
Ash Wednesday
Sep 19, 2013 Ash Wednesday rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers with an appreciation for comics, Venn Diagrams, bar and line graphs

In this episode of What The F*ck Happened...

Meet Winger.


Pine Mountain Academy is a school for the rich and the supposedly neglected where Ryan Dean West is a 14-year old junior. The story starts as he begins to serve his sentence (for stealing a teacher's phone) in Opportunity Hall, the school's dorm for the exceptionally delinquent. His day begins by getting dunked in one of the common toilets in O-Hall by two football bullies. Fun times. To make thing more interesting, he is also bun
Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
Meet Ryan Dean aka Winger, he is that guy that isn't really a nerd but sure isn't that cool guy either. You remember him don't you? He's the guy that makes you laugh like no one else could. Little horn dog fellow who thinks about sex five thousand times a day.
Ryan Dean is fourteen and in the 11th grade at a "rich kids school"-he has been assigned in OR hall for stealing a teacher's cell phone and hacking into it. He is to share a room with the school's jock bully so he is sure to die before the
Dᴀɴ 2.☢
Mar 27, 2015 Dᴀɴ 2.☢ rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Dᴀɴ 2.☢ by: Edward Lorn
1 Star

So here we go, it seems as though I’ll be forced, once again, to be that lone voice of reason. That light in the darkness. Or to play Devil’s Advocate, literally Lucifer himself, the bringer of light! But I know what you’re all thinking, “this is the guy that hates on everything right, how can I possibly trust his opinion?” Well no worries friendo, because I’m about to break it all down for you.

If you’re, say 12 years old, or you can still relate to, or perhaps still have the mentality of
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Ryan Dean West (“Winger” to the guys on the rugby team) is a Junior at a boarding school. He’s different than the other boys, though. He’s only 14. This is the story of Ryan Dean’s life-altering year – dealing with first kisses, first bullies, first love, first loss – all while trying to remove himself from the stigma that is being the “little guy”.

“It’s always that one word that makes you so different and puts you outside the overl
I don't know if these are spoilers, per se ... emotional spoilers, maybe? Anyway, read at your own risk...

This book didn't earn what it tried to do at the end. And it's so...sensational that it makes me angry, like really and truly MAD, at the author for trying it.

410 pages of dick-and-ball jokes, homo-bashing, and objectifying girls are NOT erasable by a shock ending.

Fuck you, author man. I'm so mad I can't even with this.
I can see, based on this novel's Pri
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pascal Schuppli
I agree with the reviewer who said there was a tragic twist way too late in the plot. For one, it was completely unneeded; the main theme of the story was already resolved and everything that followed did feel tacked on. It was also not in keeping with the rest of the book's tone. The narrator makes you believe you are in a comedy for about 400 pages when actually he's narrating a tragedy. Plus it's not really relevant to most of us cause that kind of thing basically doesn't happen.(view spoiler ...more
Abbe "The Awesome Senior" Hinder

"I found out something about words. There are plenty of words I can put on paper, words I can see with my eyes and scribble with my hand, that I never had the guts to say with my mouth."

Since this year has started, I've only cried over two books. Winger by Andrew Smith is one of them. I'm not sure if it's Ryan Dean's moving, realistic voice that had me hooked, or if it was the way I could easily relate to the character andconnectwith them on such an intense level that made it so hard for me to
Linda Cohen
This was a 4 star book, but the ending---OMG---I can't say anything because spoiler city!! But the ending pushed it right over the top and made it great. Never thought it would head that way in a million years. I loved it!

Buy this title from Powells Books.

Eunice Moral
It will leave you with a gaping hole and a broken heart, like losing something you know you can never get back.

Winger is one of the best books out there and I am not even sugar-coating or exaggerating things. It is that kind of book that will crack you up and tear you up all at the same time. It was pure and unadulterated reading experience. It was well thought of, perfectly executed and was able to deliver. The book was very well-written. Ryan Dean West's voice will draw you in, will captiv
Karina E
I was not enjoying the first half of the story. It was too immature for my taste and I couldn't bond with the character of Ryan Dean one bit. I guess Andrew Smith's writing style really isn't for me. I warmed up to the story after the midway point, but I still couldn't relate to most of what was happening. These teenagers acted so entirely different from my personal experience.
I would've loved for the story to have more of the depth it started to have in the very end from the start. That turnin
Edward Lorn
Sep 13, 2014 Edward Lorn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone

Andrew Smith's Winger flattened me. I was breezing along, laughing and cringing at the shenanigans Ryan Dean West gets into, and then the ending cold cocked me in the feels. Yes, I saw some kind of tragedy on the horizon, but I expected something different than what I received. I was a blubbering mess by the final page. Such a mess that my lovely wife said, "Dude, it's just a book."

Yet there are some books that rise above simple ink and paper, or collected kilobytes. There are some books that
Allison (Crazy Something Maybe Reviews)
I loved this book.

Ryan Dean West... He's... something else. I don't even know what to say about this character. He seemed so real. Like RDW could possibly be a real life kid living somewhere in the pacific northwest. He is definitely a little punk and made some super terrible choices, but I love him.

At the beginning of the novel, RDW is such a fourteen year old boy. He's horny and stupid and obsessed with girls and hell bent on reinventing himself for his junior year. Yes, he's a fourteen year
 photo 11249813_zpsqqgss8hj.gif

I'm so freaking upset right now.

Did I laugh ? Yes.
Was the writing good ? Yes.
Were the drawings pretty ? Yes.

Those were the only redeemable things about this book.
And Joey, the only character I actually liked/cared about.

Other than that it just felt like a homophobic and sexist read.

(view spoiler)
This book was completely terrible. A self-absorbed whiny 14 year-old kid, two years ahead of his class, has to stay in the dorm for deviant kids (O-Hall) and he's basically afraid he's going to get beat up by other deviant kids; however, after the initial action, it's extremely clear that the narrator is exaggerating this problem. In fact, future problems he has with these deviants is completely his own doing, which takes away any possible sympathy you try to have for him, as you would like to h ...more
Emily Blanquera
For being so unremarkable, Winger left me with an unexpected feeling of awe when it was all said and done. The premise itself is nothing groundbreaking, a coming-of-age novel about a boy in boarding school, but the way the story is told earns the book a full five stars. Everything is said simply, but it seems that every moment is well planned and meticulously detailed, resulting in a very thoughtful book that leaves you somewhat disheveled. The big, shocking ending was put so bluntly I wasn't su ...more
4.5 crazy hot nurse stars


I thought maybe sleeping on it would help me figure out how I felt about this book. I was wrong.

One thing is for sure, it's a GOOD book! I mean great, not only was the writing perfect but it Ryan Dean West is one of the most interesting characters I have ever read.

But before I go into this review I WILL NOT BE TALKING ABOUT THE ENDING. I read a few reviews before reading this book and each one spoiled the ending so was it good? Bad? Surprising? You'll
bre (booky berries)
“Joey told me nothing ever goes back exactly the way it was, that things expand and contract — like breathing, but you could never fill your lungs up with the same air twice.”

This book was wonderful. The characters were complex and realistic, and I've got a huge soft spot for rough, rowdy boys and boarding school settings!

I posted a full review of it over on my blog here, but if you liked The Spectacular Now, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, or Absolutely Positively Not, this book is definitely
Abdiel Nunez
The Book Winger, Written and illustrated by Andrew Smith, is full of comical,and on going humorous things. Although very odd at some points, this book will never get boring. Ryan Dean West a.k.a “winger” is a 14 year old junior at an isolated boarding school called, Pine mountain, in the Pacific Northwest, where uniforms are to be worn every day, no facial hair is accepted, and lights go out at 10 o'clock sharp. Although he’s the absolute youngest teen at that school, he’s also one of the smarte ...more
3.5 stars

I enjoyed it. I did. But considering the rating, I was expecting so much more… I was expecting Saving Francesca level of personal connection.

Winger tried to throw a ton of really complex themes together, but it ended up being a disorganised mash that didn't sit well considering it's a young adult. A young adult book should be clear cut yet quirky, sophisticated but intelligible.

Winger was not.

Set in an upscale boarding school, Winger tells the story of Ryan Dean West, a seemingly '
Wow. This book just gave me all of the feels.

I knew from the first page that I would like this novel.
The humor and the crudeness were definitely snort-worthy and I had to laugh out loud quite a few times.

The comic strips were a big plus for me - I love it, when books have a few illustrations in them.

Ryan Dean was a great main character. He just had balls and a great humor. I liked how he developed throughout the book.

It was so much fun to read! I love settings in boarding schools and I just de
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HEART WRENCHER *SPOILERS* 3 10 Apr 14, 2015 06:15AM  
Which is better? 1 6 Mar 25, 2015 07:02PM  
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David Estes Fans ...: Winger Buddy Read 19 14 Feb 03, 2015 12:18PM  
The Challenge Fac...: Kristin & Vicci - Winger 77 11 Oct 19, 2014 07:32AM  
At the end 11 206 Aug 17, 2014 08:23PM  
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Andrew Smith is the author of Winger , The Marbury Lens , Passenger , Ghost Medicine , Stick , and In the Path of Falling Objects . Grasshopper Jungle is coming from Dutton/Penguin on February 11, 2014. ...more
More about Andrew Smith...

Other Books in the Series

Winger (2 books)
  • Stand-Off (Winger, #2)
Grasshopper Jungle The Marbury Lens (The Marbury Lens, #1) 100 Sideways Miles Stick Passenger (The Marbury Lens, #2)

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“And then it's always that one word that makes you so different and puts you outside the overlap of everyone else; and that word is so fucking big and loud, it's the only thing anyone ever hears when your name is spoken.

And whenever that happens to us, all the other words that make us the same disappear in its shadow.”
“Joey told me nothing ever goes back exactly the way it was, that things expand and contract- like breathing, but you could never fill your lungs up with the same air twice.” 122 likes
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