I was poking about looking for a title that I thought would appeal to teens, specifically boys, and grabbed this title. An interesting mix of comics, factoids and writing, Stand Off is Andrew Smith’s second title in the Winger series.
I’ve not read the first in this series, and admittedly I am NOT the target audience for this title: the hero is 15, a senior at boarding school, who has ‘hit his stride’ with a growth spurt and now topping the school hierarchy. A curious mix of comic-styling, facts and writing were, for me, distracting and a bit scattered, although I can see the appeal for 13 – 17 year olds.
Ryan is the ‘hero’ of the story, and he’s mad some solidly conscious decisions stemming from his grief and loss. He doesn’t want to make friends, he is constantly waiting for the next shoe to drop (on his head) and to discover a freshman (12 year old) who comes with a baggage cart full of issues as his new roommate, is just one thing too much.
But, Ryan is funny and clever, he’s got a deep well of empathy and understanding even as he tries to hide it away. I won’t go so far as to say he’s ‘in touch’ with his emotions and that he always makes the right choices, but he does try, and he’s showing growth by learning from some of the mistakes (some huge) that he does make. Secondary characters are well developed and play off against Ryan’s character in ways that feel natural and plausible.
I’m not sure that this will be a hit with boys, although there are some moments that may strike a familiar chord. I do think that girls, particularly 13 and up will enjoy this story, if only for the peek into “what a boy thinks” moments that run through this story, sounding real, honest and above all, 15.
Author: Andrew Smith
Series: Winger #2
Genre: Teen Reads, Friendship
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published on: 8 September, 2015
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 4 minutes
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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.
See the Winger Series on GoodReads
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.