Friday, 17 February 2017

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Wing Jones

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.

Set in Atlanta in 1995, fifteen year old Wing is torn between two worlds - China and Ghana. Mixed race and always sticking out, unlike her brother Marcus who seems to have gotten the mix right, Wing is uncomfortable in her own skin but happy to be on the sidelines. Until Marcus does something stupid and unimaginable and ends up in a coma.

Angry and tired, Wing finds something she's good at: running. She starts in secret but as more and more people find out, she is thrust into the spotlight that is usually reserved for Marcus. Wing was just an incredible character; she has always been in the shadow of her big brother but she likes it there, so when Marcus is in hospital, Wing and her family have to struggle between grief, anger, money issues and bullying. Wing may be young but she was just finding her strength and her voice, not to mention her passion in running was inspirational. I know that plenty of young women will read about Wing and find something to aspire to.

The whole story was beautifully written. Webber's use of magical realism was excellent; Wing had a dragon and lioness that helped her push herself, sort out her anger and grief, support her when the bad things happened. Then there was her mother, silently strong for her family, supporting her two kids, and her two grandmothers, Granny Dee from Ghana and LaoLao from China, both little but loud, argumentative, but love their family. It was a unique and interesting family structure, and even though Marcus' accident nearly brought it toppling down, all these women were there for each other and it warmed my heart.

This is an amazing debut, with an incredibly unique writing style and vivid characters that leaped off the pages, and a story about self-worth and chasing your dreams that everyone will find inspiration in.

Published 5th January 2017 by Walker Books.

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