Rating: 5/5 stars
Wing Jones is easily already one of my favorite contemporaries ever. Honestly, it deserves to be applauded just for how inclusive and diverse it is. The story itself, is one of those that broke my heart at times but honestly just left me feeling so full. Also, I cried for the first time reading a book in years, so that’s saying something.
Now for those of you who don’t know, Wing Jones is a magical realism/contemporary novel that follows a fifteen year old girl named Wing who is Chinese-African American and she’s sort of always sort of been in the shadow of her ‘perfect’ athletic brother, Marcus. She never really complains, but she’s always felt like she doesn’t have that special thing that he does or even the life that he does and it just sort of seems very out of reach for her. And then, a tragedy strikes her life and she turns to running.
It does have a lot to do with her figuring herself out but at the same time it’s one of those books where family plays a major role. Not to mention, the writing is absolutely breathtaking. I love how the author has written about such heavy topics in a way that doesn’t drag you down. You don’t trudge through the book, instead you fly.
I’d already heard so many great things about this book even before I started it. But I was just expecting a heartwarming contemporary novel that would probably make me smile but also make me a little sad. I was not expecting to connect with the character of Wing as much as I did and I think that really added to how much I enjoyed the book.
Another thing I really enjoyed was the back and forth chatter between Granny Dee and LauLau. There was just something so oddly comforting in it – I mean I know that they’re almost always arguing but it’s very clear that they care immensely about each other.
One of my favorite things about the entire book had to be Wing’s relationship with Eliza. I also just generally love the character of Eliza, she just always seemed so incredibly genuine and not to the point that it was unrealistic. It felt so natural and not like an instant friendship, and getting to see how running became more than just a way for Wing to escape all the chaos that was happening in her life and it gave her a feeling of belonging among the team and with Eliza. It was just so comforting because Wing was finding her place in the world and it wasn’t a place as Marcus’ little sister.
On the romantic aspect of this book – I was really worried that the story would shift to focus on Wing and Aaron as a whole but that didn’t happen. I mean, I loved them together and I was rooting for it since the beginning and when they finally kissed I actually squealed. But I’m so glad that it didn’t all happen at once.
But honestly, the writing. Oh gosh the writing in this book is beautiful, and of course it’s very heavy on metaphors and imagery because it is after all magical realism. It’s nice to see how Wing sees the world: a world where her lioness and her dragon show up when she needs them, and the boy she likes has a laugh like a dozen bumblebees and where when she runs she feels like she’s flying.
All I can really say is just go and pick up this book, because it will make you feel full and you will hurt and you will heal with Wing and her family.
“The clouds have risen, out of my reach, but now I can see the stars and they wink down at me like they’re saying “You go, girl” and I tilt my head back and smile up at them, and I hope that from way up there my smile looks like a bright shiny star winking back at them.”