Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication date: January 5, 2017
Page Count: 384
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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.
“Neither of us belonged with anyone else, so we belonged together.”
I’m beginning to believe in YA Contemporaries again after reading Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven. Stories about misfits or teenagers who feel out of place in the social hierarchy are something I love rooting for. And Wing Jones is definitely a book I root for endlessly.
I stumbled across Wing Jones in places that most people find book recommendations: Instagram. I was blown away by how beautiful the cover and spray painted edges are. But most of all, the story attracted me the most. The journey of a girl of African and Chinese heritage finding her potential through running got me hooked, and though I am neither biracial or athletic, I do love books that promote diversity and finding your own strength in the darkest of times.
I also love it when the characters are simple and the author doesn’t focus much on their sexual orientation, and whilst I respect LGBT themed books, it’s nice to see authors taking a different approach in addressing issues that teenagers face in adapting to difficult social situations. I love how Wing is a child of inter-racial marriage and while it seems a tad bit far fetched that both her paternal and maternal grandmothers are living under the same roof, the prejudice she faces in school is very real and daunting. I’ve had friends who are children of inter-racial marriages face these problems in school and throughout college: never really finding your place in the social chain because of the way you look.
“So I do what I do best. I keep quiet.”
Wing Jones is such a well-written book about believing in yourself and accepting what makes you unique that I felt uplifted throughout the book. There are difficult moments in the book involving Wing’s older brother and her family’s impending financial crisis. But her grace and perseverance are what made me love Wing so much. For a 16-year-old, she seems very mature and knows what she wants. And while she has a lot of insecurities like all teenage girls do, she found the ability to see the beautiful side of herself and bring happiness to her family.
The situations faced by Wing are so real and emotional that I wish all YA contemporaries are this matured and realistic. Because teenagers need to learn that life is difficult, and you can never take it for granted or be lazy to reach your highest potential.I am a girl of high ambitions and dreams, and I wish my juniors could have the same drive and fire within them to go out and get what they wish for. God forbid, we need more girls like Wing in our society.
Overall, this book is a wonderful read and I would highly recommend it if you want to read something heart-warming that will leave you feeling happy at the end. I thought the ending was too brief for my liking, but I did enjoy the book in its entirety.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?