My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Publication Date: March 14th, 2017
Publisher: Dutton BFYR
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sports, Family
Wing Jones, like everyone else in her town, has worshipped her older brother, Marcus, for as long as she can remember. Good-looking, popular, and the star of the football team, Marcus is everything his sister is not.
Until the night everything changes when Marcus, drunk at the wheel after a party, kills two people and barely survives himself. With Marcus now in a coma, Wing is crushed, confused, and angry. She is tormented at school for Marcus’s mistake, haunted at home by her mother and grandmothers’ grief. In addition to all this, Wing is scared that the bank is going to repossess her home because her family can’t afford Marcus’s mounting medical bills.
Every night, unable to sleep, Wing finds herself sneaking out to go to the school’s empty track. When Aaron, Marcus’s best friend, sees her running one night, he recognizes that her speed, skill, and agility could get her spot on the track team. And better still, an opportunity at a coveted sponsorship from a major athletic gear company. Wing can’t pass up the opportunity to train with her longtime crush and to help her struggling family, but can she handle being thrust out of Marcus’s shadow and into the spotlight?
THE HEARTBEATS OF WING JONES’s diversity alone is worth praising. We do need more books with main characters who are mixed-race, like Wing Jones who is Afro-Asian. How cool is that?
Wing Jones lives in her brother’s shadow, but she doesn’t mind it. She knows Marcus is the star of the family and she’s fine with it. So when he kills two people in a car accident and ends up in a coma, she, her mother and two grandmothers are absolutely crushed.
To try to cope with the tragedy that is affecting her family tremendously, she starts to run alone during the night. When someone notices her talent, she realizes she might have a chance to save her family from losing the house and maybe even herself.
This is a powerful story. It makes you feel like you’re reading something important that you cannot put down because you must know how everything will turn out. For your own peace of mind.
I liked the controversy in it. Marcus killed two people because he was driving drunk, and yet he himself doesn’t die, although he does end up in a coma. Would it have been better for him to die instead of risking to one day wake up and face grave charges? Wing Jones’s classmates sure seem to believe Marcus does not deserve life.
Luckily, she still has Monica, Marcus’s girlfriend, and Aaron, Marcus’s best friend, on her side. The romance between Wing and Aaron made me feel no butterflies. It’s a cliché to fall in love with your bother’s best friend. In some cases it can be surprising, but not in this one.
The story is definitely interesting and worth your time. The writing, however, is so plain. So dry. Honestly, it’s the weakest aspect of this book. With a better one, this could have been exceptional.
Regardless, I praise the emotional experiences and diversity in this book.
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