Wink (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


Wink is the middle grade story about Ross Maloy, a seemingly normal 7th grader. Except Ross is not really normal. Ross has an eye tumor that he is getting treatment for which means in the middle of trying to figure himself out he is struggling with the new unwanted identity of "cancer kid". It does not help that his mom died of cancer, or that the bully at school does not give him a break or that one of his two best friends is ghosting him. If you are looking for a story about overcoming this is the one. Ross is a character that I cheered on from the beginning and I loved how he discovers new things for himself beyond loving Rock music instead of the oldie stuff his parents like. Heartwarming and engaging, this is a great empathetic read for a kid who just needs to make it through middle school but ends up doing so triumphantly.

— Beth


A hilarious and heartwrenching story about surviving middle school--and an unthinkable diagnosis--while embracing life's weirdness.

Ross Maloy just wants to be a normal seventh grader. He doesn't want to lose his hair, or wear a weird hat, or deal with the disappearing friends who don't know what to say to "the cancer kid." But with his recent diagnosis of a rare eye cancer, blending in is off the table.

Based on Rob Harrell's real life experience, and packed with comic panels and spot art, this incredibly personal and poignant novel is an unforgettable, heartbreaking, hilarious, and uplifting story of survival and finding the music, magic, and laughter in life's weirdness.

This paperback edition includes an exclusive sneak peek to Rob Harrell’s next book, Batpig: This Little Piggy Wears a Cape!

About the Author

Rob Harrell created the Life of Zarf series, the graphic novel Monster on the Hill, and also writes and draws the long-running daily comic strip Adam@Home, which appears in more than 140 papers worldwide. He created and drew the internationally syndicated comic strip Big Top until 2007. He lives with his wife in Indiana.

Praise For…

TIME Best Book of the Year
NYPL Best Book for Kids
NPR's Book Concierge Pick
Evanston Public Library Great Books for Kids 
A Texas Lone Star Reading List Selection
2021 ALSC Notable Children’s Books List

"Harrell's genius is making all of it feel authentic for a seventh grader, a teenager who, like countless others, just wants to be normal . . . Bodies change, people change, life continues. It's a lesson a lot of us have been learning, and relearning, in recent days." —New York Times Book Review

★ "Filled with the same sardonic humor and celebration of atypical friendships as his Life of Zarf series, Harrell draws from personal experience to track the wild emotional roller coaster a seventh-grader rides after being diagnosed with a rare tear duct cancer.” —Booklist, starred review 

★ "This page-turner is not to be missed." —School Library Connection, starred review

★ "Amusing black-and-white comics trace his unsavory experiences, capture the ironies of his predicament, and underline his creativity and sense of humor . . . This lively novel showcases the author’s understanding of middle school angst amid the protagonist’s experience with a serious illness." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The author balances this anger element well against the typical middle-grade tropes . . . While some of these elements will feel familiar, the novel's emotional climax remains effectively earned . . . Not your typical kid-with-cancer book."  —Kirkus

"The story’s beauty lies in how Ross’s life unfolds and opens . . . This title is delightfully good and different. Highly recommended." —School Library Journal

Product Details
ISBN: 9781984815163
ISBN-10: 1984815164
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publication Date: January 12th, 2021
Pages: 336
Language: English