Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights in this sweeping, warm, arrestingly original novel about family, poverty, and hope.
Wing Jones, like everyone else in her town, has worshipped her older brother, Marcus, for as long as she can remember. Good-looking, popular, and the star of the football team, Marcus is everything his sister is not.
Until the night everything changes when Marcus, drunk at the wheel after a party, kills two people and barely survives himself. With Marcus now in a coma, Wing is crushed, confused, and angry. She is tormented at school for Marcus’s mistake, haunted at home by her mother and grandmothers’ grief. In addition to all this, Wing is scared that the bank is going to repossess her home because her family can’t afford Marcus’s mounting medical bills.
Every night, unable to sleep, Wing finds herself sneaking out to go to the school’s empty track. When Aaron, Marcus’s best friend, sees her running one night, he recognizes that her speed, skill, and agility could get her spot on the track team. And better still, an opportunity at a coveted sponsorship from a major athletic gear company. Wing can’t pass up the opportunity to train with her longtime crush and to help her struggling family, but can she handle being thrust out of Marcus’s shadow and into the spotlight?
"The swiftly paced story will quickly sweep up readers...[a] well-crafted, inspirational debut with plenty of heart, hope, and determination." —Booklist
"A story showing how hope and love can blossom in the midst of chaos." —Publishers Weekly
Believing that she has no particular talent of her own, half black, half Chinese Atlanta teen Wing Jones lives in the shadow of Marcus, her football-star older brother. All that changes the night Marcus kills two people while driving drunk, and is left in a coma. Juggling anger, sadness, and guilty relief that her brother survived, Wing finds solace in late-night runs. When Marcus's best friend Aaron (whom Wing secretly loves) spots her circling the high school track, he's amazed by her speed and wants to bring her into the spotlight. Soon, Wing is on the track team, winning one race after another. In a story showing how hope and love can blossom in the midst of chaos, first-time author Webber explores Wing's challenges to be a winner as her family overwhelmed by mounting bills, criminal charges against Marcus, and the uncertainty of his fate begins to crumble. Readers caught up in the tension of the story, set in 1995, are unlikely to be bothered by the improbability of Wing's speedy climb to the top. Ages 12 up.)