Ryan Dean West is back to his boarding school antics in this “brave [and] wickedly funny” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) sequel to Winger.
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 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.
In this thoroughly enjoyable sequel to 2013's Winger, 15-year-old Ryan Dean West, now a senior at Pine Mountain, is still recovering from the death of his friend Joey, which has left him with nightmares and a recurring sense of dread (personified, in his artwork, as a ghoul dubbed "NATE," the "Next Accidental Terrible Experience"). Ryan Dean's rugby coach wants him to step up as captain of the team, a responsibility he isn't sure he has earned, and he has been saddled with a claustrophobic 12-year-old genius freshman as a roommate. Ryan Dean has to overcome his fears of the future and of letting anyone get too close all while bonding with his rambunctious teammates, trying to have some time alone with his girlfriend, and getting to know Joey's younger brother, Nico. Ryan Dean's voice remains engaging, honest, and idiosyncratic (a page-long internal monologue follows his discovery of two teammates in a compromising situation). Smith capably expands on Ryan Dean's coming-of-age and path to emotional recovery, chronicled through his crude comics and growing maturity. Ages 12 up.
Amazing. Not as good as the first book but still a good book to read
Finished this the day it was published.