Stand-Off – 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?

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.


This book was okay. It was trying a little hard to be quirky and cool. I really enjoyed Winger, but at points this one felt like more of the same schtick.

I liked how solveable the problems were. A lot of Ryan Dean’s growing pains felt realistic and relatable, even though his high school experience was completely foreign to me. I had a HUGE soft spot for Sam Abernathy, Nico, and Annie. Ryan Dean really had a lot of people in his corner!

Some parts were downright puzzling, like Spotted John’s room and illicit lifestyle. Or O-Hall… why was it abandoned like that?

It was fun to read from Ryan Dean’s slanted worldview. I was glad to see where (and how!) he ended up. He’s grown so much over the two books. And it was nice to get some closure on Joey, although I honestly forgot who he was, since I read Winger a while back. All’s well that ends well!

Related Reading

  • Winger – Andrew Smith
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney
  • Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You – Todd Hasak-Lowry
  • Slice – Steven Herrick
  • Six Impossible Things – Fiona Wood

Rating: 3/5


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