"A comic, compassionate account of a 12-year-old’s battle with maddening Middle School troubles (fallings-outs and not fitting in) while also battling cancer"
April 2020 Book of the Month
Twelve-year-old Ross is dealt a devastating blow when he’s told he has an extremely rare form of eye cancer and is likely to lose sight in both eyes. Based on author Rob Harrell’s personal experience of eye cancer, and spiced with his cool comic-strips of Ross’s Battbutt and Batpig characters, Wink has all the freshness and pitch-perfect narrative voice of a Louis Sachar story, with its own unique warmth and wit.
As Ross struggles with the strangeness of undergoing immediate radiation treatment, he also faces a terrible time at school. Cruelly called the “Cancer Cowboy” on account of having to wear a hat, he’s also the subject of malicious memes. While Ross’s personal plight is at the huge heart of this novel, it’s equally as powerful in its portrayal of the wider impact of devastating diagnoses, most poignantly when Ross’s friend Isaac distances himself from their Oreo-sealed friendship pact. But as Isaac retreats, he makes life-changing new friends as a result of his treatment. First there’s fellow patient Jerry, a wise-cracking old guy who rebuffs Ross’s desire to be normal. According to Jerry, “Different moves the needle. Different is where the good stuff happens. There’s strength in difference.” Then there’s Frank, the adorable radiation tech guy who teaches Ross to play guitar, which has tear-jerkingly transformational effects.
What an authentic, emotional, amusing and all-round awesome read this is.
Wink manages to combine humour, depth and a superhero Batpig. Older children will love diving into this relatable, laugh-out-loud book that doesn't shy away from the heavier aspects of life. Caution: Reading this book could also lead to excellent music taste.
Wink is a book full of heart that does not shy away from the big issues: friendship, health, family, cyber-bullying... But thanks to a joyful cast of characters, none of these topics feel insurmountable: Abby, the best friend with the dry one-liners; Frank, the music-mad tech; Jimmy, the multi-layered tough-nut you can't help but root for; and of course Ross, whose Batpig cartoons will appeal to all ages. This book is a great next-read for older readers (11+) who enjoyed Diary of a Wimpy Kid, 13 Storey Treehouse and so on; although the themes are much more mature than these reads, the humourous and relatable character of Ross makes this an accessible and hugely enjoyable read.
Teachers: This book offers fantastic links to PSHEE topics and technology safety, in a similar vein to Wonder.... Read Full Review
This is a great book for anyone who wants to understand Ross's world.
I really enjoyed this book because it showed what is was like from Ross's point of view and shows just how mean people can be sometimes.... Read Full Review
The book wink is a great read. You just do not want to put the book down as you want to discover what happens to the main character Ross-as he goes through many challenges in life but always pushes through.
I really enjoyed reading the book wink because it explored difficult subjects like going through cancer but managed to portray it was a positive twist to life.... Read Full Review