I read Winger with a group of high school juniors that was half girls and half boys. The girls finished the book way faster than the boys. The absolutely loved it. They thought Ryan Dean West was hilarious, and they were fascinated by getting inside a boy’s head. The boys liked the book, too, but they didn’t LOVE it like the girls did. They thought RDW was too annoying and whiny – maybe because their own friends can be that way? Maybe because they were reminded of how they were at 14? Whatever the reason, Winger was a great choice (*pats self on back*) for my first lunch time book discussion at the local high school.
I ran the book discussion during lunch at the high school. I had one session with the 1st lunch group and 1 session for the 2nd lunch group. We had about 20 minutes to half an hour with each group. Everything felt kind of rushed, despite the fact that we probably didn’t have much to say past the half hour point. I worked with my favorite English teacher, who happens to be the English Dept. Head as well, and she made sure my copies got distributed to all the kids, got them passes to leave the cafeteria on book club days, and also discussed the book with us. We met twice to talk about the book. I had planned for 3 times, but a field trip happened and that first visit got cancelled. Twice over 3 weeks was more than enough – by that time everyone who was going to finish the book had finished it.
Honestly, not all the attendees read the book. Some of them read the first chapter. Some of them just didn’t finish it. A couple never ended up starting it at all, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t get to join in the conversation – we still talked about the book, summarized it for each other, discussed the logistics of private schools, and compared rugby to football.
It was my first off-site (library) book club, and I loved it. The teens loved it. I will be continuing it for as long as I can, and also looking for more high school and/or middle schools to do this in. For our next 2 sessions we’re reading Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King, and the kids are really excited about it. They’re especially looking forward to the flow charts. It’s the little things, people.