Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
Publisher: Walker Books UK (5th Jan 2017)
Format/Source: Paperback (sent by Pansing Malaysia for review)
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.
Guys, Wing Jones is my first 5-star read of 2017 and that says a lot. Ha! I mean, I’ve only read 13 books so far but the one that I can’t stop thinking about is Katherine Webber’s phenomenal debut, Wing Jones! Now, you might be wondering why, huh? Well, there’s little I can tell you without spoiling it for you.
Every beat of my pounding heart is a command. Run. Run. Run.
Wing Jones follows the story of Wing Jones, a plain Jane who has always been in the shadows of her charismatic, popular brother, Marcus but loves him endlessly. Then, one night, Wing is visited by a police officer, bearing bad news. Marcus has been in an accident. Suddenly, everything she thought she knew about her beloved brother comes crashing down. With her brother in a coma and the medical bills growing every day, Wing seeks solace in one thing that she never expected she would: running. But just how far can running bring her when time and real life are constantly snipping at her toes?
What can I say about this incredibly touching and uplifting story about a girl who finds her way, even when the odds are against her besides that it’s got so much heart, I felt my heart soar when I was reading it. (That’s saying a lot because I don’t really have a heart. No, really.)
A secret, I quickly learn, is much more fun if you have someone to share it with.
Right from the start, I was rooting for Wing because she was such a likeable character and reading about her journey to self-discovery and finding her mark was really inspiring. She is definitely someone I would root for. The book is written from her POV and it was really refreshing to get in the mind of a biracial main character, every nuance of her thoughts was explored so well. The narrative was a dream. I couldn’t stop laughing when Wing was sassing her grandmothers (just like how I would).
Only my dragon and lioness understand what running really is for me. Only they hear the beat of my feet. Only they know that every breath I take when I’m running is a breath for him and that as long as I keep running he’ll keep breathing.
Wing Jones is a coming-of-age story that deals with hope, family, love, friendship and values. It was really an interesting experience to read about an Afro-Asian main character who has a Chinese grandmother and an African grandmother. I’ve got to hand it to Katherine Webber for writing such wonderful and multi-faceted characters, especially Wing’s grandmothers. I felt like I could really connect with Wing, in terms of expectations from your elders to traditions and cultures, which were from her Chinese heritage.
Another thing I’d like to point out about Wing Jones is that it deals with bullying and racism. Issues like these are important and I liked that they are incorporated in the book.
These aren’t the tears that give you a sense of relief or wash the pain away. These tears hurt. Each and every one has made the perilous journey from my heart to my eyes. I feel like with every tear I’m losing a little bit more of who I thought my brother was, but I can’t stop them. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop.
Katherine Webber is a writer to watch. Her ability to inject humour, even in the most serious of times, and to weave such a powerful tale about believing in yourself and the sacrifices you make out of love. What made me appreciate Wing Jones more was that Katherine Webber is such a maestro in metaphors and similes that were so accurate and relatable!
Wing Jones is also a story about Wing falling in love for the first time. Man alive, I swooned so hard because the romance in the book is everything I hoped for in a book. Katherine Webber, being the wordsmith she is, infuses such tenderness and beauty in describing Wing’s first love. Oh, someone hold me, because I am ready to swoon again, just reminiscing about this book. Even though the romance is considerably subtle in the book, but I craved for it. I swooned and cheered for Wing because my heart was so full of love.
It’s like kissing and running belong in the same alternate dimension when time slows down and speeds up all the same time, because our kiss lasts an instant and for ever.
As wise as an ancient Chinese proverb and as beautiful and sweet as first love, Wing Jones is a triumph. I was completely enamoured by the book’s sparkling charm and warmth. When I wasn’t reading it, Wing and her will to win and her dragon and lioness and her grandmothers, basically, everything about the book was on my mind. Definitely worth a read if you’re a fan of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell! Wing Jones is published as The Heartbeat of Wing Jones in the US.