Title: Wing Jones
Author: Katherine Webber
Published: January 5th 2017
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Source: Paperback purchased from Waterstones
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
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.
This book was all over my Twitter feed in the months leading up to its release. I’ve followed the author on there for a while, so that could be part of the reason it was everywhere, but the amount of fellow bloggers raving about this book was enough to convince me that I needed to read it. While I’m not athletic in the slightest, it didn’t put me off this book about a girl running – although it didn’t inspire me to try it myself (lazy sod that I am).
Wing is a bit of a strange genetic mix. She is part China, part Ghana, part America. While her brother, Marcus, seemed to win the genetic lottery, Wing feels she got all the worst parts meshed together. The result? She’s teased mercilessly at school and called a freak while her brother is the football star heading for the NFL, popular with everyone and a hero in her eyes. That all changes when Marcus is the cause of a drunk driving accident that results in fatalities and he ends up in a coma. Wing turns to running to help keep her grounded, focused, and it feels like her small way of keeping him alive.
I loved this story for so many reasons. The first being Wing’s voice. There’s a strong sense of her throughout and I really connected with her and found myself rooting for her throughout all the hardship her and her family face.
Wing lives with her mother, her two grandmothers, and her brother. Her father was killed a few years ago and they’ve been pulling through ever since. With Marcus in a coma, the strain it puts on the family is heartbreaking. To see this family of strong, proud women reduced to struggling to make ends meet and wondering just what exactly they’re going to do, broke me. It was the hardest thing to read.
I also loved the slow build of Wing’s relationship with Aaron, Marcus’s best friend. It was so obvious that they liked each other and I had my oh-my-gosh-they’re-so-freaking-cute face on every time they were together. The thing I liked the most about their relationship though, was the fact that Wing didn’t fall head first into it and forget everything else – she was close, but she didn’t. It was great to see her put the running first, her heart second, and be rewarded for that hard work. Love isn’t the be all and end all of happy endings – although it’s always a nice addition.
The only thing I didn’t really get was Wing’s dragon and lioness. They confused me, to be honest. I got that they were her guides and that they represented her grandmothers… or her heritage, perhaps? But I didn’t understand their purpose. They just appeared at random moments and then disappeared again. It was never really explained.
Whether you’re a runner or not, this book will make you laugh, cry, and everything in between. A beautiful story of family, hope, determination, and perseverance.
About the Author
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.
She loves an adventure, whether it is found in a book or in real life. She has climbed the Great Wall of China, ridden camels in the Sahara Desert, camped in the Serengeti, visited sacred temples in Bhutan, trekked to Machu Picchu, and eaten her way through Italy. Travel, books, and eating out are her favourite indulgences.
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, most recently, a London based reading charity.
Wing Jones is her first novel. Katherine is represented by Claire Wilson at Rogers, Coleridge and White.
*Picture and Biography from Goodreads