Thursday, March 9, 2017

Review: The Heartbeats of Wing Jones - Katherine Webber

The Heartbeats of Wing Jones 
Katherine Webber
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenges: #DebutAuthorChallenge, #NGEW2017, Alphabet Soup Challenge

As a "big" Afro-Asian girl living in the south, Wing had been subject to constant taunts. She worked hard to try and "blend-in" as she lived in her older brother's shadow. Then Marcus made a bad choice, a bad choice which resulted in two deaths. While Marcus' life hung in the balance, Wing began to emerge from his shadow and found herself.
I don't know what it is exactly, but I can't blend in, and I don't stand out in a good way like Marcus. I stick out. Marcus, he manages to stand out, to shine when he wants, but he can blend in too. 
This book filled my heart, broke my heart, made me smile, made me *sniffle*, made me happy, made me sad. I felt just about every emotion while I was reading Wing Jones, and I loved every minute of it.

First things first, this was a great story. I could totally relate to living in the shadow of an older sibling, because, well, I lived in the shadow of a standout older sibling. Although the event was quite tragic, the accident is what pushed Wing to deal with her own issues. As she dealt with these issues of inadequacy, disappointment, and grief, she sort of found herself. 

Initially, she was running to forget, she was running from her situation. Once her running talent was discovered, she started running towards things. I just loved this concept of something turning from an escape into a solution. 
But when I'm running, I don't feel like an idiot. I feel free, like anything is possible. Like I'm not running from something, but for something. 
Moving on, the characters are all so well developed and each served an important role in this story. From Monica and Aaron to LaoLao and Granny Dee, I loved them all.  The two grandmothers were so much fun, but they also offered so much love and support. Their presence was definitely an extra special touch, and I was so happy that Webber featured them so prominently.

The writing was stunning. From the very beginning, Webber's writing pulled me in. The blurb mentioned Jandy Nelson (one of my faves), and I would agree that Nelson and Webber share a talent for gorgeous and vivid prose.
"I thought I was dreaming," he says, his voice raspy with sleep. I love the sound. I want to take it and make a scarf out of it, so I can wrap it around my self and rub my face against it, soft and scratchy. 
But my happiness is a squishy kind of happiness, squeezing itself in where it can fit, pushing around all the sadness and the stress and the pressure, finding any empty spot, any crevice, and filling it.

Finally, I will talk about the romance. I love romance, and although I did not feel the romance played center stage in this story, it was a part of the story. This romance unfolded out quite slowly, but when they finally kissed, it was perfection.
I lean closer to him and take his hand in mine. A spark erupts between our palms, and I feel it go straight into my heart waking it up from a long sleep.

I feel like I have learned to fly. It's like when I started running, really running, for the first time and my body woke up and every part of me was in tune, and it was the most right thing in the world. Kissing Aaron feels like that.
You will notice that I awarded this book 4.5 stars. Why not 5? The reason was the ending. It was a nice ending, but it was that contemporary ending that always makes me nuts. You know, that sort of open-ended ending. I am a closure-ho. I need epilogues and all loose ends tied up. I just did not get that from this ending. Don't get me wrong, it was satisfying, but I just wanted more.

Overall: A stunning debut from an author I want to read more from featuring strong family ties and a stellar heroine.

**I would like to thank NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the advanced copy of this book

Do you like to run?
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  1. So I recently read this book too and did enjoy it however because I wasn't able to connect to Wing that much, I felt a little let down! But this book has the absolute best characters ever!

    xx anisha @ Sprinkled Pages

    1. There were so many wonderful characters, and I am all about character love. I can read a book with almost no plot, if the characters are well written and I care about them. I wish you had enjoyed this one as much as me though.