Reviewed by Sara, Simsbury Library
Stand-Off, the sequel to Winger, will not disappoint those waiting. Winger, a 2016 Nutmeg Book Award Nominee, tells the “exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking” story of Ryan Dean West and his junior year at Pine Mountain Academy. Stand-Off shares Ryan Dean’s senior year. He has a new roommate, Sam Abernathy, whom he calls “The Abernathy,” who happens to be a 12 year old freshman. Sam has claustrophobia and sleeps with either the window open (yes, even with the chilly almost-winter breeze) or the door open to the hall (yes, so everyone that passes by can see Ryan Dean changing his clothes).
Ryan Dean meets Nico, Joey’s brother (his best friend from last year). Nico is considering going to Pine Mountain but backs out feeling that he is not emotionally ready. Ryan Dean is determined to be his friend and finally convinces Nico to hang out with him and talk about Joey.
Ryan Dean is dealing with last year’s events by sleeping poorly, having panic attacks, and drawing Nate (the Next Accidental Terrible Experience). Stand-Off is his story of how he survived The Abernathy, accomplished having sex with his girlfriend Annie, and discovered how to move forward with living. He will make you laugh, cry, and re-consider nicknames forever more. (Full disclosure: I did cry during Winger but this is a bit less emotional. Ryan Dean would totally forgive you five out of five tissues if you gave a good cry out of sadness, excitement, or relief.)
How does a sequel win the Printz? It has been done a couple of times. As I mentioned previously, I have concerns about a sequel winning the Printz. Does Stand-Off have the quality of winning the Printz? Yes. Does it stand alone from Winger? Kind of but not really. It mentions last year’s happenings but I would be confused about it if I hadn’t read Winger.
Andrew Smith has really shocked my world of YA literature. He has recently published a variety of unique stories. He won Printz Honor last year for Grasshopper Jungle and 100 Sideway Miles was also discussed last year. I can’t wait to read everything he has to offer! As this is the third, and maybe not last, review of Smith’s work here in two years, I think my desire will be filled easily. Please keep writing Mr. Smith!