My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Walker Books in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve been excited for Wing Jones since before the beautiful cover was revealed at YALC 2016, and this has to be one of the most anticipated debut novels of 2017. If you’re on the UKYA scene, chances are you’ve seen Katie running a panel at some point, and now she’s released her very own book.
Wing Jones is the story of a mixed-race girl, Wing Jones who is half-Ghanian and half-Chinese. She lives with her mum, her older brother Marcus, who she idolises, and her two grandmothers. Wing looks up to Marcus and his girlfriend Monica with wonder, until a terrible accident happens. Marcus drink-drives after a party and crashes, killing a young mother and his friend. Marcus is left in a coma, lying precariously on the edge of death, and Wing is left to pick up the pieces.
The cover may fool you – I thought this book would be about Wing taking up running and learning to fly (which it is) but this book is about so much more. The grief that affects Marcus’s family and friends is almost tangible, and Wing has to transform and grow up to deal with the tragedy. I was also surprised at the setting – Wing’s story is set in 1990s Atlanta
Wing’s voice reminded me a lot of Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. Katie’s writing is beautiful and melodic, and there’s a really cool use of magical realism which guides the story.
I loved the focus on family in this novel, and the romance is well done and felt natural. Wing’s grandmothers are great characters and great comic relief, and it’s rare to find a novel that just *gets* family.
A gorgeous story of grief, family, romance and finding yourself which is surely going to be one of the most-loved debuts of 2017. I can’t wait to read more of Katie’s stuff, especially if they have such beautiful covers (the finished copies of Wing have the best ombre stained pages!).
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