Book Review: Wink by Rob Harrell

A few weeks ago, I was in the mood for middle grade books and googled something like middle grade books in 2020. One of the first results that popped up was Wink by Rob Harrell. I read the blurb and was immediately determined to read it.

First though, I had to finish Wonder. I finished that last week, so after that and after a short break for processing, I proceeded to this book.

Wink

Summary

A wrenching and hilarious story about embracing life’s weirdness and surviving an unthinkable diagnosis, based on the author’s own experience with a rare eye cancer.

Twelve-year-old Ross Maloy just wants to be normal. Not to have a rare eye cancer, not to lose his hair, not to have to wear a weird hat or have a goopy eye full of ointment. Just normal. But with a sudden and horrifying diagnosis, Ross can’t help standing out. His new life is medical treatments that feel straight out of a video game, vision loss in one eye, disappearing friends who don’t know what to say to “the cancer kid,” cruel bullying, and ultimately, friendships new and old that rise above everything.

Just when Ross starts to feel like he’s losing his footing, he discovers how music, art, and true friends can change everything. Filled with Rob Harrell’s comic panels (Batpig for the win!) and spot art, this novel brings effortless humor and hope to an unforgettable, uplifting story of survival.

My Review

Well, I cannot see the illustrations, so this review is purely about the story. And let me tell you, it’s an amazing story! Harrell has created Ross to be so totally witty, I loved it! I mean, even in the darkest of times, while my heart went out to Ross, I also found the story humorous. Ross truly shows his determination. He may not (as he says) have some big epiphany in which he realizes life is a precious gift, but he does retain his sense of humor in spite of it all. That’s awesome. I mean, this book had me laugh out loud on several occasions.

What’s also important, is the development the characters go through. I liked how Harrell creates his characters to be as open to friendship as they were. I mean, I know this book is a middle grade novel and some kids that age are just so closed-minded. Harrell’s characters for the most part are not.

I loved that this book had just one viewpoint, that of Ross. It shows us what goes on inside a “cancer kid”‘s mind without the added baggage of family members or friends. Of course, they chime in on occasion, but that’s okay. Oh, and not just Ross, but many other characters are totally awesome.

I loved Harrell’s writing style, the dialogue and how quickly this book moved. All absolutely great.

In short, this wasn’t some inspirational story, and yet it was. It’s partly based on Harrell’s own experience, even though I assume Harrell was an adult when he got cancer. I think this book definitely provides some perspective to middle schoolers and yet puts a laugh on their faces.

Book Details

Title: Wink
Author: Rob Harrell
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: March 31, 2020

Read With Me

Stuck at Home Book Tag

I found the Stuck at Home Book Tag over at CrankyAutistic’s blog. I wasn’t really tagged, but I felt it was a fun tag so stole it. It was created by Ellyn. I’m not su re I’m doing these book covers right. I got them from Goodreads but, as regular readers know, I’m blind so not able to judge them.

1. What Are You Currently Reading?
Wink
I just finished Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Now a bit stuck, but the most recent book I’ve picked up is Wink by Rob Harrell.

2. What’s Your Favorite Can’t Leave The House Activity?
Blogging! I’ve truly been active writing lately. I also love reading, of course, as well as listening to music.

3. A Book You’ve Been Meaning to Read Forever?
Fangirl
That for sure has to be Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I recently discovered it was available on Bookshare, but I’ve literally had it on my TBR list for years.

4. An Intimidating Book on Your TBR?
The Institute
That still would be The Institute by Stephen King.

5. Top Three Books on Your TBR
I don’t really know. I’m generally a mood reader, so I read whatever strikes my fancy at a given point. As a result, I usually read multiple books at once. I honestly don’t know what three books I would want to read now that I haven’t started on yet.

6. Recommend a Short Book
Most of the books I read are not too long. Then again, I don’t really know what counts as short.

7. Recommend a Long Book
Well, the longest fiction book I’ve read that I can remember is Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult, but I’m not sure that counts as long. Other than that, how about you read the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5)? Yes, I actually own a copy of it.

8. Something You’d Love to Do While Stuck at Home?
Exercise more. I really need to get on the elliptical more often and also should be doing yoga. Oh, are these things I’d love to do or things I’d need to do? Maybe both.

9. What Book Do You Plan on Reading Next?
Rules for Being a Girl
I just recently downloaded Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno off Bookshare and think I’ll read that next. At least, after I’ve finished reading Wink, Heroine by Mindy McGinnis and the other books still in progress and listening to Matilda by Roald Dahl.

I won’t tag anyone, but if you’d like to do this tag, I’d love you to.

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts (May 7, 2020)

I haven’t felt inspired to write all day today. That’s weirdly sad. I mean, before I went on this writing spree at the end of March, I sometimes didn’t write for nearly a week and now I’m feeling disappointed at not having a topic to write about by morning. I did get my writing mojo back in late afternoon. I’m joining in with Bookish (And
Not So Bookish) Thoughts
. I think Christine of Bookishly Boisterous intended this as a meme anyway, so I can join in.

I finally finished Wonder by R.J. Palacio yesterday. I originally wanted to write a proper review, but can’t without it probably containing spoilers. So be warned.

Let me say this book had my feelings all over the place. I was triggered by Via’s feeling like everything was about Auggie. This resonates with how my sister felt about growing up with me. I felt tears of joy when reading Miranda’s part, because she showed such pure love to August. Then at the end, when everything is fine and everyone sticks up for August, I felt a pang of jealousy. I mean, my school was welcoming too, but mostly so they could pat themselves on the back for having accepted a blind student. I ended up giving the book a 4-star rating because of these mixed feelings.

Now I’m reading Wink by Rob Harrell. It’s a bit of a similar themed book, but so far not as evocative.

I also downloaded Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno. I saw it on Rebecca of BookishlyRebecca’s Goodreads, which was linked to her blog. I’m probably going to link my Goodreads here too.

I’m also further digging into The Empath’s Survival Guide by Judith Orloff. I’m beginning to think I may be just a highly sensitive emotional mess, not an empath. However, it’s still an interesting read.

In other news, yesterday was a truly great day for my blog stats. Not that I care much about them, but then again sometimes I do. I am truly loving being able to interact with all my readers. I can’t believe how for years I rarely replied to comments. I believed at the time that my stats would be screwed if half the comments were mine. Well, whatever. I apparently cared more about my numbers then than about genuine connections, which is weird at best.

How is your (reading) life going?