Published May 14th 2013 by Simon & Schuster
Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.
With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.
Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.
I'm just going to say upfront what I didn't like about this book: the twist came too late in the book. I felt as though the story should have been winding down and coming to a close when suddenly something brand new came up. After this tragic twist, the ending felt abrupt. The author chose to rush through the aftermath of the tragedy instead of fully exploring it. It was disappointing to be left feeling like the author could have and should have done more.
It's unfortunate that the book ended so poorly, because the rest was great. I found it to be a funny and meaningful coming-of-age story. Ryan Dean was a relatable character with a great voice. The comics, which I initially thought would be gimmicky, actually really added to the story.
My likes and dislikes in this book balanced out so that I ended up with an average rating.