The book that has been lighting up twitter for months and after completing it in one day I can see why.
Wing Jones attends high school as a freshman; with very few people she would consider friends she spends most of her time with her older brother Marcus, his girl Monica and Marcus’s best friend Aaron. She idealises her older brother like many younger sisters do (I’m guilty of it to this day) and places him in a pedestal where he can do no wrong. That is, until, one fateful night when he is involved in a car collision and is due to be charged with drink driving and vehicular manslaughter. Wing’s life is turned upside down and the torment she is already receiving in school increases as people place the blame on her shoulders while Marcus is in a coma.
Being half Chinese, half African, Wing struggles to find a place where she is accepted for who she is other than her home where, she lives with her Chinese mother and grandmother and her African grandmother. That is until she begins to run.
Running to escape her brother’s image and actions; running to escape the torment she receives and running to keep up with her dragon and lioness spirits. The action of running is also about control, or in Wings place, the loss of control of the barriers she tries desperately to keep up. I truly empathised with Wing and her need to escape what is happening around her. Webber has managed to write and incredible character in Wing that I’m sure many people will empathis and relate to.
As the novel progresses we see Wing trying to deal with her brothers actions and the aftermath, Wing goes on a journey of acceptenace of her brothers actions and refusing to excuse what he has done. Webber has handled this brilliantly and shown that sometimes, there is no excuse for the actions we commit.
Set in 1995 Webber has managed to capture the time incredibly well, from racism and the struggles that many went through and still go through to this day. Not only that, but, Webber has also managed to look into another problem which had troubled many Americans for years, hospital bills and debt. Through Wing’s eyes we watche with her as her mother and grandmother make sacrifices to try and keep a roof over their heads. I can’t say whether this is a common sight now but, having watched family members in the U.K. struggle with debts and bills it is a very real problem.
One of the final things I will mention is the love interest within the novel. Wing’s love for Aaron, Marcus’s best friend. It’s always a tricky area when best friends are involved let alone your brother’s best friend. Their developing relationship in the form of running not only gives them an escape from Marcus but, it also allows Wing to focus on something for herself.
If you haven’t already guessed I loved this book. Webber looks at and addresses issues which still haven’t been resolved after 22 years through the eyes of a young adult bringing new viewpoints to the subjects. I could go on for a lot longer about how amazing this book is but, instead I will ask that you go and pick this book up yourself. It’s a journey you don’t want to miss.