‘My first memory is of my brother. Seeing his head bobbing along in front of me as I chased him down our street, calling after him to wait for me.’
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.
What I thought
This book did the magically of thing of making me want to run. I like the idea of running but actually doing it? Nope no thanks, I’ll cheer people on Parkrun and volunteer and help where needed but running is not my thing. And yet after reading this I couldn’t help but fantasise about sticking on a pair of trainer and just going for a run. Of course after a few minutes of realising how stupid of an idea this was, mostly because I last bought trainers 6 years ago.
I enjoyed the different-ness of the POV, a biracial american girl? There are not many books around that have someone like her as the main character. What I loved about it was that that was just who she was and her grandmothers come from different cultures, but that isn’t the point of the book. It’s not about showing the different cultures, there is no reason for her to be biracial she simply is, much like many others.
For me the interesting thing was the central theme being about losing faith and trust in your sibling. Wing discovers that her brother isn’t who she thought he was and spends a lot of the book working out how she merges her new knowledge with the brother that she thought she knew. I’ve got a close relationship with my sister and I can’t imagine how much it would knock me off kilter if I discovered something about her completely contradictory to the image that I have of her. And the worst thing for Wing is she can’t work it out by discussing it with Marcus, because he’s in a coma. So she’s busy looking at his body, with no idea if she’s going to wake up or not and trying to work out how she could remember him.
The idea of having your world turned upside down and being unable to find focus is a really interesting one and it’s easy to see how Wing falls into running and discovers her talent. It’s not like when you’re learning a sport at school or doing it with friends. She’s running to wear herself out so she doesn’t have to think and also to give herself the time alone so she can think. That contradiction and the introduction of her dragon and lion alongside her, protecting her from the evils of the world, things that are unable to touch her as she continues to pound the race track, even if it is only in the middle of the night to begin with.
The other thing that this book does really well is looking at the impact of things for other people. Marcus is the one who got into an accident with another car and yet it is them to have to live with the consequences while he lies in a coma, unable to answer any of their questions. One of Wing’s grandmothers has to return to work so they can pay the hospital fees, and while they are all desperate for Marcus to wake up they are also aware of the trails he’ll have to go through when that does happen. And as much as they don’t like it life goes on, it has to. Time might have stopped for Marcus but there lives continue and as Wing delves further and further into running she moves on from just being Marcus’s sister and partially hates herself for continuing to live while Marcus doesn’t.
Why I read it
I didn’t really know much about this book going in apart from the fact it’s about running and I’d heard good things about it. Plus Katherine Webber is going to be at YALC and I wanted to read it before I got it signed.
This is a really enjoyable book that didn’t take too long for me to read but made me want to go buy a new pair of trainers and learn to run, to feel the wind against my face.
I loved reading this and am planning on picking up her new book at YALC this weekend
Would I recommend? Yes. It’s a great YA and it’s great to see more representation and that not being the point. Plus female sport.
PopSugar: LGBTQ+ protagonist, About or involving a sport,
Read Harder: Romance by or about a PoC, one sitting.
As always I’d love to know what you think, there’s now 2 days until YALC and I can’t wait. It’s going to be lots of fun playing with books. My reading list is currently all YALC people (which you’ll notice in September if I stay on track) but I’m also looking forward to bouncing away for YA into something completely different.
A comment would really make me happy and this week is already on route to be a pretty good week. Go on, be the cherry on the cake of my weekend!
P.S My next review is ‘Turtles all the way down’ by John Green