Review: Stand Off by Andrew Smith

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Title: Stand Off

Author: Andrew Smith

Publication Date: September 8, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It’s his last year at Pine Mountain, and Ryan Dean should be focused on his future, but instead, he’s haunted by his past. His rugby coach expects him to fill the roles once played by his lost friend, Joey, as the rugby team’s stand-off and new captain. And somehow he’s stuck rooming with twelve-year-old freshman Sam Abernathy, a cooking whiz with extreme claustrophobia and a serious crush on Annie Altman—aka Ryan Dean’s girlfriend, for now, anyway.

Equally distressing, Ryan Dean’s doodles and drawings don’t offer the relief they used to. He’s convinced N.A.T.E. (the Next Accidental Terrible Experience) is lurking around every corner—and then he runs into Joey’s younger brother Nico, who makes Ryan Dean feel paranoid that he’s avoiding him. Will Ryan Dean ever regain his sanity?

From the author of the National Book Award–nominated 100 Sideways Miles, which Kirkus Reviews called “a wickedly witty and offbeat novel,” Stand-Off is filled with hand-drawn infographics and illustrations and delivers the same spot-on teen voice and relatable narrative that legions of readers connected with in Winger.

I received a copy of this book for free via Edelweiss from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Gigantic thanks to Simon and Schuster.

Warning! If you haven’t read Winger, then you are about to experience some major spoilers. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I only just read Winger this year. When I found out that there was going to be a sequel, I freaked! I got approved for an early review copy and dropped everything I was reading to read Stand Off. I don’t know if I have ever finished a book as quickly as I have with Winger and Stand Off. I devoured these books. I think that this book was MY TOP anticipated book for all of 2015. I’m happy to report that Stand Off did not disappoint in the least!

If you read Winger, then you know how light and funny it is until the end. Stand Off picks up a few months later where Winger ends. Ryan Dean, now fifteen, is starting his senior year at Pine Mountain. On top of everything, Ryan Dean is rooming with a twelve year old freshman, Sam Abernathy, who is extremely claustrophobic and equally annoying.  Ryan Dean has recently lost his best friend the previous school year. Because of this, Ryan Dean is waiting for N.A.T.E. (The Next Accidental Terrible Experience) to strike again.

Stand Off is not lacking in hilarious events or illustrations by the wonderful Ryan Dean. I loved watching Ryan Dean’s and Annie relationship develop. Ryan Dean even becomes friends with Joey’s younger brother, Nico, which helps him heal with Joey’s death.

Even though Stand Off has a darker tone than Winger, there were still plenty of laughs to go around. At one point I was giggling so much, my husband asked what was so funny. I showed him what I just read and he started laughing also! Ryan Dean is pretty depressed with life at the beginning of Stand Off, but he is learning to heal by the end.

If you haven’t read Winger or Stand Off yet, put it at the top of your reading list. You are going to want to read these books NOW.

I need more of you Ryan Dean. *sigh*

5 out of 5 stars


Meet The Author

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Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Grasshopper Jungle (2015 Michael L. Printz Honor, 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Carnegie Medal Longlist) and Winger. He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. The Alex Crow, a starred novel by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, is his ninth novel. He lives in Southern California.

You can find him on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and his website.

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