Title: Wing Jones
Author: Katherine Webber
Publisher: Walker Books
UK Release Date: 5th January 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
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.
There was so much hype around Wing Jones for me, as I’d been looking forward to reading it since the cover reveal in July, and I’ve been talking about it for a long time on my blog (in October around the time of YA Shot, when I met Katie at YA Shot, in my post on January releases, when I bought my copy, and because of a talk at Waterstones). However, I was a little nervous to start reading, for more than one reason. I’d been waiting to read it for so long that I was afraid of both reading it so quickly that I wouldn’t appreciate it enough, or that it wouldn’t be as good as I’d hoped. Luckily, neither of those things turned out to be a problem, as it was such a tender and beautiful book.
First of all I simply have to talk about how much I loved the protagonist of the novel, Wing. She was kind, she was strong, and there was just such a strong character voice behind her. When I was reading Wing Jones, it was hard to put down because Wing’s narrative was so engaging and compelling. She also had a little bit of vulnerability about her too, something which only made me love her more, as it made me love her and root for her even more.
The story was absolutely beautiful, poignant, and moving. I’m not going to give away what the tragedy that strikes is, as I think it would take away some of the impact, but just know that it is heart-breaking. Everything about the situation that Wing ends up in tugs on your heart strings, especially when her grandmothers become involved and try to do the best they can. The magical realism also made this book really special; I wasn’t expecting it at all, but it was worked into the story so well, and definitely added an extra layer of character to the novel. And of course there was Wing’s running, obviously a bit part of the story seeing as there are trainers on the cover and running is mentioned in the blurb. Wing’s experience of running seemed almost magical, and it was enthralling to see how involved she became in her hobby, and how much transformative power it had to bring her good.
Not only was Wing a wonderful character, but the rest of the cast of Wing Jones were also superbly written. While I didn’t like all of the characters – some of them definitely had their frustrating moments – they were all understandable, and you could see how they reached their thoughts and decisions. Katherine Webber definitely has a talent for writing realistic, human characters. I also wanted to give this book a shout out on the diversity front, as there was an LGBT character and POC characters, and the book talked about the difficulties Wing faced because she was biracial. There was also a little bit of exploration of Wing’s two cultures, as she is Ghanaian and Chinese, which I loved.
Overall, this book is definitely one you should be adding to your TBR if you haven’t read it already. With an amazingly well-written story and beautifully developed, rounded characters, I could not recommend this book enough.