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.
I was so excited to read this book because when I bought it last year, it had all this hype surrounding it and so I was so motivated to read it, but I never got the chance to do so. However, this month I decided to read it because it’s been on my shelves for a year now and it has to be read because I simply hate for my books to stay unread for a long time.
So, as I said, I picked it up this month and it wasn’t what I expected at all! I didn’t love the book and I didn’t hate it; it was an okay book. Now, let’s get into the actual review.
When I was 20 page in, I started to have a problem with the narration of the story; I didn’t like the point of view that the story was told from, which was Ryan Dean’s (Winger) POV. I found him extremely annoying and very fickle minded and I had difficulties with understanding him because I honestly felt that he doesn’t understand himself, maybe because he is 14 years old who is mixing and mingling with older kids, but I honestly didn’t like him and I thought of giving up on the book.
However, I decided to stick with the book because I hate to just stop reading a book when I am 100 pages in or so, and I am glad that I didn’t stop reading because I got to know some really interesting characters and I wished that the book was told from their point of view instead of Winger’s. Joey was one of the characters who I really loved and I wished that the book was told in his POV because he was an interesting and funny and his personality was very likable.
Other characters I loved were Annie and her parents. When he went on a vacation with her family was my favorite part. Her parents were not I expected them to be; they were so cool and chill and understanding; basically they were so fun and funny.
Now, moving to the message that the book tried to deliver. The book dealt with important issues like bullying, which was the main issue in the book because both Ryan and Joey were getting bullied. I believe that the book offer a good portrayal of the issues that the teenagers go though while growing up, and how can they be easily affected by their surrounding.
With all that being said, I hated the way the book ended because the book offered the worst kind of emotional manipulation I have ever seen in a book, and it honestly wasn’t necessary at all. It anger me the way things went downhill at the end. However, things only ended perfectly for our main protaginst because Ryan Dean is what matter at the end of the day (Ughh). He was self-centered and the book offered a really narrow point of view where it’s only about Ryan Dean and only him! It was really really annoying. I think I had all these problems maybe because of the age bygone, but I read books where the protagonist were young and I could relate to them to an extinct, but with this one, I simply couldn’t connect with him on any level.
Even though the book is not a short book, but it read like one. It’s fast paced and the language is so easy that makes reading it a really easy process. It’s a good book but I think the reason why I didn’t fully enjoy it is because of the age bygone between me and the main protagonist, which made it hard for me to connect with him on any level. I found the book was cliched a little bit and not quite original.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.