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?
My thoughts: (may contain spoilers from the first book)
I never knew I could like a sequel just as I liked the first book. I was so surprised that this book blew me away. One by one giving me the feels that I haven’t felt before. Although I think that Winger is still better than this. However, Stand-Off was also good in a completely different way.
“I’ll tell you what, Ryan Dean. If it makes a difference, and I believe it might, we won’t call you fly half. We’ll call you stand-off. I prefer the name for the number ten, anyway, because it really says what it is you do on the pitch– you stand off from the pack and you design the strategy for the squad to win.”
Annie Altman’s appearances in this books are fewer compared to Winger. She is more likely a supporting character who helps and motivates Ryan Dean West. I like her, but she’s weird sometimes.
Okay, every time I remember Ryan Dean West, I remember me. I don’t know. It just feels like Ryan Dean West is so me. His actions, his choice of words, and his life (except for the parts that he has a girlfriend and he is a good artist). It gives me a barrage of feels whenever I read some sad lines from him and I just want to hug him. We can be BFFs, or better, siblings, you know.
The new character in this book is Sam Abernathy. He’s a claustrophobic, annoying piece-of-shit¹. Well, I didn’t actually cuss. I wouldn’t say that aloud. He’s Ryan Dean West’s new roommate who did nothing but bombard Ryan Dean with a lot of questions about his life.
The Next Accidental Terrible Experience, in short N.A.T.E., has been haunting Ryan Dean since the tragic event that happened on the first book. Nate, his personal ghost, lies within his mad precious mind. And Nate also lives in Ryan Dean’s every new comic.
I liked running in the rain without a shirt, no matter how cold it was– it was like taking a shower outside and letting the universe spit on me, which is something that the universe always seemed to get a kick out of.
Getting back to Ryan Dean West. He is still the same. He still rates hot girls. And the illustrations and diagrams in this book are lesser than Winger. Although this book didn’t really make me laugh often. But it felt like colliding with a high-speed moving feels train. Every good part they say, I just get teary-eyed.
Everything is well-written. I like how Andrew Smith write in this-nonsensical-i-don’t-know-why-this-kind-of-writing-ever-existed form. Andrew Smith never fails to impress. I will be supporting him throughout because Winger changed my life and it earned a huge space in my heart. Good job, Andrew!
¹ Nope, I didn’t say that. You just imagined it.
5 swords for making me speechless, Andrew Smith
About the author:
Andrew Smith is the author of several award-winning novels for young adults, including The Marbury Lens. He lives in a very remote area in the mountains of Southern California with his family, two horses, two dogs, and three cats. He doesn’t watch television, and occupies himself by writing or bumping into things outdoors and taking ten-mile runs on snowy trails. He maintains a blog and website about his strange writing life atghostmedicine.blogspot.com.