Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing's speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.
Katherine Webber was born in Southern California in 1987. She has lived in Hong Kong, Hawaii, and Atlanta. She currently lives in London with her husband, Kevin, and their young daughter. In addition to her YA, Katherine also co-writes young fiction, as Katie Tsang, with Kevin.
Katherine studied Comparative Literature at the University of California, Davis and Chinese literature and language at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She has worked at an international translation company, a technology startup, and a reading charity. She now writes full time.
She loves an adventure, whether it is found in a book or in real life and has travelled to over 45 countries. Travel, books, and eating out are her favourite indulgences.
This book feels like one of those timeless books that can be read in any millennium and still be relevant. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
- Wing jones is a slow, building story of determination and sacrifice and learning from your mistakes and family and forgiveness and LOOK AT ME SAP - Okay so let’s start with the fact that it’s taking place in like 1995 (I legit wouldn’t have known unless the book mentioned it) so it threw me off a bit bc there’s literally no telling signs as to //why// it needed to take place over 20 years ago (does that make it historic fiction??) but hey we’ll just go with it - So our mc, is wing jones, an afro-asian girl (CAN I JUST SCREAM ABOUT THE DIVERSITY FOR A SEC BECAUSE IT WAS AMAZING) who puts her older brother up on this high pedestal but after one night when he drunk drives and gets into an accident, pretty much she has to rethink her entire life - Along with the fact that her mom and grandmas are now stuck in a very difficult situation - This story tests the bonds of family and as someone who dies for family rep in ya, I loved this - It was realistic and sad but also empowering and eye-opening - Wing grows a lot in the book and I feel like the main story is really centered around her and her growth as a person - She no longer can hide behind her brother’s reputation and has to build something for herself - DAMN I JUST LOVE THE THOUGHT OF THAT bc it really resonates with me rn - THERE IS RUNNING, which for some reason I LOVE A LOT - It also focuses on finances and race and bullying and identity, ITS SO AMAZING - Wing’s grandmothers are literally the queens of this book, theyre so grouchy and grumpy and bitter but theyre like soft marshmallows and theyre hilarious and basically I love them - Even the romance was done well - It was slow and build over time and wasn’t rushed or forceful - I just really enjoyed this book - My only complaint would probably be that it was long and drawn out even tho I realize it helped to build the story, but it did get tiring after a while to keep reading mundane things while waiting for those snippets of action - Not gonna lie the ending made me have to suppress my tears bc I refuse to cry at the dinner table WHY DID I THINK IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO READ THERE
Just read the book thanks
“My steps are in time with Marcus's heartbeat, and even though I can't stand to be close to him at the hospital, what I'm doing is helping him.”
a very refreshing and important story about a fifteen year old girl whose older, perfect brother, Marcus, kills two people in a drunk driving accident. it's a story about a girl discovering her identity, building a reputation and image for herself while grieving and dealing with the mess and hardship her brother is putting his family through.
this is such an amazing book and the author doesn't shy away from tough topics. she talks about the dangers of drunk driving and how it can lead to dangerous accidents that DO kill people, depression, disgusting racism and how people treat others because of the color of their skin, and financial problems.
there's also so much amazing diversity. we have a biracial, half Chinese and half black main character and her brother, the love interest Aaron, is black and black lesbians! 😍
this is seriously an amazing book, but the reason I gave it three stars is that it was too slow for me. there's too much focus on Wing's running and I couldn't relate to that. I was also a little bored through out the book.
trigger warnings for alcoholism, racism, bullying and death
[4.5] // THIS WAS SO GOOD!!!! I had a million and one things I wanted to say about this book, but I can't remember one right now. MY FEELINGS! I loved it so much! Just the contemporary fix I needed.
Essentially it's a story about a 15 year old, biracial girl (kudos to the great diverse representation) who feels slightly overshadowed by her brother, by everyone, is a misfit, and is desperately trying to find herself and her place in the world.
I adored the main character, Wing. She's someone you absolutely root for and her development felt natural and progressed amazingly. There are so many layers and themes that Webber includes in this story that really packs a punch. You have to read it to feel it.
I really enjoyed reading about the family dynamics and how other themes were explored, such as the elements of race, bullying, identity as well as cultural identity and much more. I can't forget the romance, of course. I sorta, kinda melted. It was the sweetest!
I feel like it's best to go into it blind. There's so much more to this book and I've purposely kept this review slightly vague, but it's a heartfelt story about discovering your potential, about running after your dreams (excuse the pun), and knowing and believing that you are enough. Worthy.
I can't wait to read more books in the future by this author. Such a joy to read.
I saw the cover of this book revealed last year at YALC and I was like "oh, ok. It's about sport" and I didn't think much more about it. Because I am the least sporty person EVER. But then in release week it seemed like everyone I followed was reading it and loving it. And usually when there is a lot of hype around a book I'm a bit wary. But the SundayYA crowd are just the best people and I totally trust their judgement.
And so I couldn't resist.
I pre-ordered it on my kindle and waited for it to arrive.
And once it did? Well, I was blown away.
I have to admit that the first five-ish chapters made me ANGRY. Ragingly angry. I was scowling down at my Paperwhite, angrily tapping for the next page. The one thing that is a sure-fire way to get me wound up is bullying and those first five chapters had me fuming.
Then I started the next chapter and my heart was broken.
This book is an emotional roller-coaster. So you will definitely need your tissues.
I didn't "get" the lion and the dragon, but I did like the magical realism aspect they lent to the story, that "are they there?" lingering in my mind as I read.
As filled with heartbreak as this book is, there is also a huge dose of inspiration. I am not sporty, I don't like sport, but I've started running. Me. The girl who doesn't run. Wing just inspired me so much that I put on my trainers and ran for the first time since I was forced to in PE at school. And it was bloody hard, but actually? I loved it.
Edit 19/12/2017: Who would have thought that one of my first books of the year would be one of the best I'd read?
I honestly picked this book up expecting a light, funny read. It turns out Wing’s story started out very sad. She has been the victim of bullying since she was a little girl because she looked different. Her dark colored skin and small eyes make her stick out, unlike her “perfect” brother, Marcus, who always stands out. She grew up without a dad but was okay with it because she always had her reliable brother, her hero until the accident happens and sighs, her life gets even sadder.
But it still is funny, positive and uplifting. Told in the narrative voice of Wing, the story is very authentic and heartfelt. The narrative comes just as Wing thinks so it could be both very knowing and innocent at the same time. Just a sample.
“Heather Parker is one of those people who feeds on other people’s pain. It’s what keeps her skin so clear and her hair so shiny.” (Well that explains why mean girls are so pretty. Lol.)
The peak of the plot is Wing’s discovery that she could run, really run inspired by her lioness and her dragon which I’m sure are totally metaphors of what Wing is going through, perhaps her emotions or her dreams, but might also be elements of a magical-realism so that’s another really unique element of the story. By running, she could feel completely free from every bad thing she’s going through. Free from bullying, judgment, isolation, pain and grief. But at the same time it also makes her feel as if she’s running for a cause, running for the life of her brother.
“I’m not running for me. I’m running because I’d give anything for my brother, and this is all I’ve got to give.”
This book is probably one of the most genuine stories that perfectly fit the YA genre. It has everything- cultural diversity, a bit or romance, social importance and most especially, it definitely has heart, a lot of it.
I ABSOLUTELY loved reading this book because it felt like I was being let into someone's life, rather than just following a plot. There are the main events of the blurb that occur in the story, but a bunch of other little things that I didn't expect and really enjoyed!
Wing was such a refreshing character to read about. The number of really cool similes in this book was astounding. Normally, I don't comment on writing style, but this stood out to me as so full of voice, which I've been missing in YA lately.
The diversity was amazing, the romance was immense and subtle at the same time, the narrative was constantly interesting, and every single character is just waiting for you to fall in love with them! I have a feeling that this book is going to be climbing to the top of a lot of TBRs, and for such good reasons!
Wing Jones is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a long time and I’d love everyone – absolutely everyone – to read it.
Set in Atlanta in the 90’s, it tells the story of fifteen year old Wing who has a grandmother from Ghana and a grandmother from China; she’s caught between two worlds, not quite fitting in like her older brother Marcus seems to do. When tragedy strikes, though, Wing takes up running and she’s not just good at it, she’s amazing. Running is a way for Wing to escape, but it could also turn the life around of her struggling family.
The first thing that struck me as I started reading Wing Jones was just how beautiful Webber’s writing style is. It’s something that I haven’t come across before in YA, something that makes you linger on each sentence so that you can absorb every word. Her use of metaphor, in particular, is so well done. It’s made me even more excited to read Webber’s future novels because I can’t get enough of her writing; I could read anything of hers.
I have to admit: I’m not really a fan of magical realism. The aspects in Wing Jones, though, were perfect. I think it’s converted me! It adds a feeling of hope, of awe, to Webber’s wonderful words, and makes you love the main character, Wing, even more. It didn’t feel forced or unrealistic; it felt as much a part of the book as the setting of Atlanta or the secondary characters.
Speaking of secondary characters, I adored Wing’s grandmothers, Granny Dee and LaoLao. Every scene they were in was a joy to read; they added humour, but the way they cared about Wing was also so special. I love reading inter-generational YA stories, and this one was particularly well-done.
Wing Jones made me realise exactly how important it is for everything that is published to be diverse, for writers to create realistic characters that people can see themselves reflected in. There are going to be so many girls out there who will be inspired by Wing, who will reach for their dreams because she did too. Wing is one of the best YA characters I’ve read in a long time – in fact, all the characters in Wing Jones feel as if they could have actually been walking around when the book was set; and, as Wing was a teenager back in the 90’s, I like to think back every now and again to watch she might be getting up to now.
Wing Jones is, so far, my book of the year and I will not be shutting up about how good it is. There’s no way that it won’t be included in my favourite books of the year list at the end of 2017, and reading it made me so proud to know Katherine, to hold her physical book in my hands.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.
This was one of the 2017 debuts that I'd been interested in for ages, and when I was able to review a copy, I jumped at the chance. Wing Jones is about the main character, Wing, who has to deal with her brother being in a coma, and she does so by running. For years, she has struggled to find her identity, as her grandparents are from China and Ghana, and she's never really fit, within school. When she discovers her ability to run, and do it well, she finds herself relying on it, to take her mind off the tradegy her family is facing.
Firstly, I found the writing in this book perfect for the content. From the first page, you were drawn into the environment and era, and I could easily picture what I was reading about. Set in 1990s Atlanta, Webber doesn't gloss over the social issues facing Wing, and her family. They're struggling to earn and save enough money to live, and when they have to pay for more and more medical bills, it makes the problem even harder. Wing finds herself thinking that she's their only hope, and with her running ability, she could help if she can find a scholarship, or sponsorship.
There's also some romance in this book, which I did enjoy, but I much preferred the running aspect of the book. It was swoony at times, but I wasn't as invested in the romance as I would have liked to be. The ending was also a bit 'meh', and just ended, when I felt there needed to be a bit more tied up, but that's what I've found with many contemporary books.
All in all, this was a debut worth waiting for, and I look forward to reading more from Webber in the future.
This isn't out for so long that I'm not going to do a proper review yet, but I will say that this book is perfect and lovely and satisfying and beautiful. It also contains the most slow burning endless agony of waiting for a first kiss I've EVER READ and it was PERFECTION.
Really beautiful story! I was surprised how long it sustained itself in the middle since it seemed to lack tension, but I really loved the beginning. So emotional, and the writing was gorgeous and easily readable. My only critique was that the ending came about very quickly, which I wasn't prepared for and things seemed to wrap up a bit too neatly (apart from the old man at the hospital that ball was dropped!)
This book was recommended to my by my dear GR friend Lola ! Click on her name to read her review.
The sole reason I decided to read this is because of Lola's review and the diversity. The diversity was very well done. But the rest of the book did not work for me. I found this book to portray the negative aspects of high school which never works for me. Considering the topic I understand why it was done.
But there were times when I felt that it was over done. It felt that in every other chapter someone was always screaming or yelling. I was also not a fan of Wing's crush. Not the guy himself but the way she acted and thought about him. Wing acted like she was his girlfriend and was annoyed whenever a girl looked at him. Also the writing style was very odd.
I do still recommend it as it is an important read.
Sixteen years old, Wing Jones has never really felt comfortable in herself. Half-Chinese, half-Ghanaian, and living in Atlanta, USA has it’s challenges. Never more so than at school and having to deal with the school bully, Heather, who finds Wing an easy target.
Wing is very family-orientated, especially after the death of her father. Since that day, her brother Marcus has been there for her, and keeps her under his protective wing.
Her life suddenly gets turned upside down when her brother is involved in a car crash, one that not only sees him being responsible for the deaths of two people, but one that leaves him in a coma for months.
With pressure now on the family, not only from people who hate them for what Marcus has done, but from mounting bills down to the medical costs, Wing is incredibly worried. She is worried about her brother, and worried about the rest of her family who are doing everything they can to pull together.
Spurred on by her imaginary dragon and lion, she steps out of her comfort zone and starts running. She finds herself worry-free whilst her legs are pounding on the track, unbeknown to her she is also exceptionally fast and talented, and that people are starting to notice.
Wing Jones is a spectacular YA book, one that I can see being a real hit this year. The book has that uplifting feel to it, and you will find yourself submerged into the lives of some extraordinary people.
Ms. Webber has portrayed characters that are so realistic. They are not superstars, they are everyday, normal people, people you would expect to see in your daily life. I personally love Wing’s two grandmothers who live with the family, one from China, and one from Ghana. They fight like cat and dog, their upbringing and cultures are completely different, yet they clearly love and respect one another.
The story is very much about one young girl’s need to grow up fast, thrown in at the deep end. She wants to help the family out, and not be treated like a child, kept in the dark about the problems they are going through. She also doesn’t know how to handle that knowledge, and the stress that comes with it. By running, and creating these imaginary characters, she is releasing some of that stress in the only way she knows how.
You get to feel every ounce of pain that Wing feels, from hurt and betrayal, to heartbreak, as well as every joyous moment, including her first kiss, and winning that all important race.
This book will take your heart and soul and drag them deep into the core of the plot. It will make you feel like you are part of Wing’s family, standing shoulder to shoulder with them, and praying for her to eventually find some sense of comfort in herself.
The book will also teach you that the actions of one person can have a domino effect on numerous other lives, whether for better or worse.
The book was a real delight to read. You certainly wouldn’t think that this is the work of a debut novelist. I look forward to many more novels by Ms. Webber.
Initial thoughts: As a biracial person myself, I think Katherine Webber aptly captured what it means to live with multiple racial identies on a day-to-day basis. I loved how she noted the little things like double-takes from strangers when it dawns on them who the grand- and/or parent(s) are and that they're related to children who might not even look like them. Then there's the fusion of food within a household, and the warring cultures over personal conduct, the expectations and sometimes even the appearance of a biracial child. Oh, and don't get me started on how no hairdresser has the right products to deal with hair besides a pair of scissors.
Personally, I connected to this book all the more because I finally saw so many pieces of myself embedded in that book. I wish I'd had that when I was 16 and encountered parents who didn't like me simply because I wasn't the same race as them and their children; parents who preferred that their children not be so close to me because I was too dark, didn't speak their language, and didn't celebrate the same holidays. A book like this would've reinforced my self-worth. I sincerely hope that it will do exactly that for other biracial teens who get to read Wing Jones.
Note:I received a review copy from a local distributor in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I completely devoured this. It's the perfect blend of humour and heart, love and family, with amazing characters (Granny Dee and LaoLao have my everlasting admiration). Put this one top of your TBR pile. It is incredible.
Wherein the stupid, reckless decision of an older brother allows a half-black, half-Chinese girl in Atlanta in 1995 to come into her own. This is a wonderfully written story about running, about finding a way to work through grief, and about owning yourself as you are, no matter how other people look at you (deserved or not). The 1995 setting is usually something that bothers me, but it makes sense here, given that the story's setting is in the city where the Olympics would be in the following year, so the fever and passion for athleticism is high and the dreams and hopes teens pit on one another's sporting goals match.
I loved that Wing lived with her mother, as well as her two grandmothers. There's an unflinching look at having financial troubles, as well -- medical bills, food service work, and other expenses mean that things are often "gone without," and there's real fear of losing the few things that this family has.
Also? Wing is a big girl. That's part of why she's outcast at school, along with her mixed race heritage. Big here is indeed big. She's tall, big boned, muscled, with hips and boobs and curves. I keep picturing the Williams sisters meet Beyonce in terms of build and it's important to note that never, ever do we hear about Wing's body, weight, shape, or appearance when she's running. It's literally an activity that calls to her in the middle of the night, as a way to work through sadness, and helps her find herself perfect as she is.
Pair with Laurie Halse Anderson's CATALYST. I'd also pair this with Brandy Colbert's forthcoming LITTLE & LION, for strong family bonds and a sibling relationship that pivots the bulk of the story.
Trigger warnings: racism, family member in a car accident, family member in a coma, graphic discussion of an accidental knife injury.
I bought this book moooooooooonths ago and for some reason, I've only just gotten around to reading it. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a compelling story about a teenage girl dealing with the aftermath of her brother's car accident. It's a coming of age novel in which she discovers her talent for running and starts to make friends.
I must admit, I'm a little iffy about the fact that this story features a mixed race protagonist - Wing's mother is Chinese and her father was African-American, of Ghanaian descent. The author is white. I'm not saying the representation was bad. I don't think it was. Buuut there are some magical realism elements in the story that were more than a little stereotypical, and I do feel like the racial elements of the story could have been unpacked in a lot more depth by an Own Voices (or partially Own Voices) author.
I really liked Wing as a character. I loved her grandmothers. I liked the writing. I liked the love interest and the running stuff and the friendships that Wing develops. I'm just a liiiiiittle iffy about the representation in the story.
I was fortunate to receive an ARC of THE HEARTBEATS OF WING JONES.
Oh, wow. This book is so beautifully written - I mean, GORGEOUS writing. Wing's story, her family, her love for them, her love for Aaron, Wing herself... when I wasn't reading this book, I was thinking about it. I'm so impressed with how Katherine Webber was able to convey such depth of emotion, the sense of loss Wing feels, the sadness, the anger, the grief- and the pure joy she finds when she finds her wings.
“My steps are in time with Marcus's heartbeat, and even though I can't stand to be close to him at the hospital, what I'm doing is helping him.”
Wing Jones has one of the most amazing, realistic and heartfelt family dynamics I've ever read about. It has a little bit of romance here and there, and some growing friendships, but the family plays the most important role in this book, and I loved that!
“I run down the hall and out of the building and I keep going until I’m at my front door, heart beating so fast and lungs working so hard that I don’t realize tears are streaming down my face until there is a river of them at my feet and I’m drowning.”
Wing's grannie's are such a great, hilarious duo that made me laugh out loud more than once. I really loved all the familial relationships, their love, hapiness and hardships were practically flowing out of the pages. This book is also amazingly diverse. Wing is Afro-Asian, one grandmother is African, the other Chinese. And there's also lesbian side character.
“But my happiness is a squishy kind of happiness, squeezing itself in where it can fit, pushing around all the sadness and the stress and the pressure, finding any empty spot, any crevice, and filling it. Don’t mind me, it says. I won’t bother anyone. I know this is a room for sadness, but I just need a little corner. I try to kick it out, because it isn’t welcome here, it didn’t even come wearing black, but it won’t go. It’s a stubborn guest. One that I secretly want to stay.”
While the romance was sweet sometimes, I couldn't 100% connect to that aspect, especially with Wing's constant infatuation with Aaron. The pacing of the story was also a bit uneven. I liked Wing's growth throughout the novel, though while I know it was intentional, she felt quite passive especially at the beginning.
I really loved how her running was described, and how realistically her motivations for it changed through the story. Also, the book is set in 1995 which totally surprised me!
“The clouds have risen, out of my reach, but now I can see the stars and they wink down at me like they’re saying “You go, girl” and I tilt my head back and smile up at them, and I hope that from way up there my smile looks like a bright shiny star winking back at them.”
All in all, Wing Jones is an amazing, heartfelt and kind debut novel centered on family, and you should definitely check it out!
Wing Jones was easily my most anticipated YA debut of 2017 so my expectations for this book were already sky high to begin with and yet I was still taken aback by how much I loved this book – it’s seriously that good.
The story follows Wing Jones, a biracial teenage girl with a huge heart and a loveable family. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, Wing doesn’t feel like she fits in anywhere and is content to stand in her big brother Marcus’s shadow cheering him on from the sidelines as he wins game after game as the star quarterback.
When Marcus is involved in a drink driving accident that kills two people and leaves him in a coma, Wing has to deal with her brother’s fall from grace in their community, her family’s mounting medical bills, and the possibility that her big brother might not wake up.
To deal with her problems Wing takes up running and to her surprise finds that she’s good at it, better than good. Wing started running to escape but as word of her talent gets out she’s suddenly the one thrust under the spotlight.
When a life changing opportunity presents itself Wing has to decide: does she continue to run away from her problems? Or find the courage to run towards her dreams?
Wing is one of the most inspirational young heroines that I’ve ever read about. Her voice is incredibly well written balancing the right amount of uncertainty and quiet inner strength of a young woman coming into her own for the first time. Despite not being interested in running in the slightest I connected strongly with Wing’s passion and determination, I’m sure that her story will spark a fire in the heart of every reader who has ever took the lemons life has handed them and made lemonade.
One of my favourite aspects of this book was Wing’s family life. Every character in this book sparkles in their own special way but none more so than Wing’s grandmothers Granny Dee and LaoLao. Despite coming from two different backgrounds and cultures the two women are more alike than they realize sharing a love for food and their family. I really appreciated this subtle and timely message from Katherine Webber on how we’re all more alike than different where it matters.
Wing Jones has sprinted on to the YA scene with a heroine whose heart leaps off the page touching the readers own. This debut novel about losing your way, finding your feet, and chasing your dreams is not to be missed!
I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. I was completely entranced by this book. The characters, the plot, the romance, and the writing kept me glued to the pages. There were times where I was on the verge of sobbing, and then there were parts where I was laughing out loud. This book had the perfect amount of heartbreak, humor, family bonds, real-life battles, triumph, and romance. I loved everything about this book!
The main character, Wing, felt so realistic. I really connected to her and I felt like I understood every emotion she was feeling. Wing was strong, sympathetic, dedicated, loving, and so much more. I was rooting for her from the first page of the book. There was just something so endearing about Wing that I couldn't help but want to hug her and be her best friend.
The romance in this book was ADORABLE. It was perfectly paced and it made me swoon so many times. I seriously loved the romance. It felt very natural and just perfect. The romance never took away from the main plot of the book, instead, it enhanced the plot. I could read about the couple in this book FOREVER. I SHIP THEM SO HARD. THEY MAKE ME SO FREAKING HAPPY.
The diversity in this book was great. I loved how the author made that a prominent aspect of the book. It was extremely refreshing! I also liked how the author really focused on family ties and how important family is. It made my heart fill with joy!
I could go on and on about how much I loved this book. I was happy and content with the ending of this book, but I would die from happiness if there was a sequel to this book. I WANT TO READ ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.
I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!
5 / 5 Fangs
*This ebook was given to me in exchange for an honest review. *
I will admit to requesting this strictly off of the comparison to Jandy Nelson. I've never seen FNL, but I'm all for sports and football and Jandy Nelson is an auto-buy. Needless to say, my expectations were quite high...and I think that was my downfall.
I liked Wing well enough. Her voice starts out really young and I did struggle with her inner monologue. However, as the book progresses, she grows and learns more about herself and the tone changed. I loved her grandmothers the most. When they were together, they stole the scene. Wing's infatuation with Aaron got a bit tiresome, but they did have some sweet moments together.
There were a lot of loose plot threads that didn't get resolved and I didn't care for that. When I got to the end, I had a lot of questions.
I absolutely loved the diversity aspect and it breaks my heart that I'm rating this so low. Obviously by the high reviews already posted, it just wasn't for me.
**Huge thanks to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for providing the arc free of charge**
The Heartbeats of Wing Jones values so many different aspects it's hard to keep track of them all. Grief, anger, passion, happiness, love, strength, determination, motivation, and more. We have our main character Wing Jones who always hides in the shadows of her all star brother, Marcus, but when tragedy strikes her family it's up to Wing to step up and shine. It was a truly beautiful story that kept me glued to the pages. My only issue is the ending felt rushed. We have great character and story build up throughout the entire story and then the ending came and gone too soon, I want those last 2-3 chapters. However, I still love this book, I knew from chapter 1 that I was going to enjoy it and that I did. Definitely recommend this one!
I have been in a terrible reading slump for about 4 months now, where even books I have been dying to read, and am thoroughly enjoying, take me about 2-4 weeks to finish. This is from someone who usually reads a book in 2-3 days. I devoured Wing Jones in 2 days. It grabbed a hold of me and dragged me from my reading slump. I couldn't put it down. It is a beautiful and emotional contemporary, set in the South during the 1990's.
There is DIVERSITY to the fullest in this book! I loved the book and I will be doing a full review. But for now I will say this.
1. Diversity - And done well! 2. Beautiful writing 3. Brilliant characters, you feel like no secondary character is actually 'secondary'.
1. I felt like I didn't get enough closure at the end. So many big aspects are left open and that bothered me. Wish we had explored the darker themes and outcome of a certain character way more. 2. I DON'T get the need for the imaginary dragon and lioness. Especially since they felt to on the nose - her heritage is Ghanaian and Chinese, so her imaginary guardian/friends are a dragon and a lioness?!? I don't get why they were needed or why there were there. For me, they didn't add anything to the story and didn't serve a purpose. Personally, I felt the story would have been just as powerful, if not more so without them
Not only is this the most beautiful book I’ve ever held in my hands (those sprayed edges are GLORIOUS) but this is probably the most I have ever willed and cheered on a fictional character. I absolutely fell in love with Wing Jones.
Wing Jones is a half Ghanaian and half Chinese fifteen year old girl who lives in the shadow of her older brother Marcus. Wing finds herself at the receiving end of spiteful comments in school due to her appearance but finds comfort in the happy times she shares with Marcus, Monica and Aaron. After a life changing accident for Marcus and the whole family, Wing is forced to learn more about herself than ever before, opening her up to a whole new world of possibility, love, strength and life.
This is much more than a story about a girl who finds her feet and learns how to fly. This book covers such a variety of relevant topics that I know I will be pushing it on everyone this year. It is a wonderful example of why diverse books are so important. As well as several POC characters, I also loved the complete inclusion of Eliza and her sexuality. Not only was the issue of racism tackled, but this book also contained a very realistic portrayal of grief, bullying, guilt, self-belief, love. There is something here for everyone to relate to and learn from.
Towards the beginning of this book there is a real focus on Wing’s appearance: both how she sees herself and how others see her. Wing is different from her peers: she is described as being dark skinned with Chinese eyes. Webber makes some exceptionally valid points in this book about race: the fact that Wing has never seen a model that looks like her before; how using words such as ‘exotic’ are not appropriate when talking about a person of colour. I was pleased to see the way in which racism was tackled in this book, I thought it was very important to do so and the way it was done felt right.
Wing has easily become one of my favourite fictional characters and I believe she will be an inspiration for many. I loved the honesty of her character, her self-doubt and difficulty in accepting herself felt so real. I really felt that I went on a journey with her and in those last few chapters I was rooting for her so hard. I also loved LaoLao and Granny Dee and could feel Wing’s exasperation and humour at her grandmothers’ interactions. They are both fiercely protective of their family and really reminded me of my own grandmother. I really loved the family dynamics that shone throughout the story.
I have fallen in love with Webber’s writing style and I loved the touches of magical realism. They made this book feel so alive to me and the imagery was really vivid. I truly felt that I was there with Wing every step of the way.
Wing Jones is sure to be a source of inspiration for many young people. I am sure that so many young people will read this book and be able to relate to one, maybe more, of the issues touched upon here. My hope is that for some of those young people, this could be life changing. If Wing can learn to fly, so can you.
This book was chosen for #OwBookClub's february theme "badass female".
Rating : 3.5 stars
Wing's big brother was the golden boy of the Jones' family. Rising star of the football team, stunning looks, popular, with a perfect girlfriend and an even more perfect best friend. She has watched her brother, loved him, supported him but never stepped of the shadows. It didn't matter, her life was nice the way it was. But everything changed one night, when Marcus took the wheel drunk and had an accident. Two people died, and he was left in a coma, blamed and hated. Lost, angry and tired, Wing started running.
No, it wasn't as good as I thought it would be. No, I didn't love it. No, it wasn't perfect.
The book had very much potential, and it was actually very good. It was emotional, bittersweet and dramatic. It was a beautiful story about family, about love, about blame and forgiveness. But it was messy.
1. Wing is biracial. Half Chinese, half Ghanaian. In 1995, it must not be easy to live with, but the only real thing you get to know about her mixed heritage and that her looks are weird. There is racism because the author says so but you never really see it yourself. I would have liked to see it more developped.
2. There are a lioness and a dragon. Wing speaks of them in chapter one and they are important. But why ? I get they want her to run faster, and it sounds pretty awesome to have a dragon and a lion, but I don't understand why there're here. Throw some spirits, readers will like ? Well yes, I liked it but once again, I would have liked if it was more developped.
3. The running part. I sign for this book for the running part and I was very disappointed in it. It wasn't the story of a girl using her gift to help her family, this was the story of a girl who WILL use her gift for her family. Future tense. Running was important in the story, but was it ? Was it really running that helped Wing becoming the new Wing ? Yes, no, it was but it didn't feel so.
4. And then there is the tragedy. The accident, the deaths, Marcus' coma. The blame, the anger, the sadness, the anxiety, the guilt. This was very well done. The book would have been only about that, it would have earned all my stars. How do you move on when your brother/son/boyfriend/bestfriend did something horrific, just a little mistake that took two lived and ruined a lot more ? Can you blame him despite his coma ? Can you still love him despite him being a murderer ? Should you be the one to apologize ? Should you break, should you live ? I don't know. And Wing, LaoLao, Aaron and the other, they didn't know either. They just did and it was heartbreaking, it was sad and it was beautiful.
Here are my thoughts of the story of Wing Jones. The end left me pretty unsatisfied, I wanted more, but it was well done enough. There were too many things, too many little subplots, to really love the book in its whole, but it was a great read and a really emotional ride, and I would recommend it to everyone.