Book Review: Stand Off by Andrew Smith (Reviewed by Teen Reviewer Lexi)
by Andrew Smith
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?
“I am supposed to be Joey today.”
For a sequel to a beautiful novel I did not expect it to be as equally beautifully written as the first. But this book is solid proof that Andrew Smith has managed once again to capture my heart and squeeze it until nothing was left.
The way Andrew Smith writes is so perfect. He makes me jealous that the arrangement of my own words aren’t as whimsical as his. His description in this book draws you in and makes the whole book seem like a movie playing out right before your eyes. Objectively, his writing style is perfect for the age group he is writing for. Also, the subjects he indirectly writes about is refreshing and appropriate in today’s society.
There is not single bad thing i have to say about this book. I loved it all. Especially his continuous use of lgbt characters. Unlike in some novels i have read, the lgbt character isn’t seen as disgusting or as a focus for ridicule and jokes. Spotted John is rather a source of strength and confidence. Andrew Smith writes Spotted John’s character as normal as any other straight teenage athletic boy, except that he is not straight. His flirtations with Ryan Dean proves that even if he isn’t straight, he is just like every other teenage boy. His pressuring also is something that struck me as refreshing. His constant pressure on Ryan Dean brings to light the concept of Consent, which is a main theme in the whole book. This pressure on Ryan Dean highlights how girls feel when pressured into similar situations. Consent, i feel, is a big thing amongst teens and the fact that Smith addresses this concept proves his understanding of teens and of the main issues in today’s society.
Andrew Smith’s whole book is excellent and heart wrenching. I would legit read anything he wrote. Stand Off is 5 out of 5 books-to-definitely-read on the Lexi’s-list-of-books-that-will-make-you-toss-and-scream-on-an-emotional-roller-coaster.
Published September 8, 2015 from Simon and Schuster. ISBN: 9781481418294
Filed under: Book Reviews
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
SLJ Blog Network