Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mid Week Book Talk | 04

It's a little hard for me to choose which book to talk about this week. But I think we'll have to go with my most recent finish, Stand-Off by Andrew Smith.

This weekend is the WAR for Literacy conference in town and Smith is our keynote speaker this year. The WAR conference is designed to be a free conference for teens that explores Writing And Reading (WAR). There are sessions on favorite books, writing poetry, screenplays, using social media, etc. The last two years the keynote speakers were Chris Crutcher (Crazy Horse Electric Game) in 2016 and Ellen Hopkins (Crank) in 2017.

This year we have Andrew Smith, author of award winning Winger and its sequel, Stand-Off.

Stand-Off by Andrew Smith

Stand-Off follows Ryan Dean West, a 15 year old senior at Pine Mountain, during his final year of high school. After a junior year full of pain, frustration, love, and heartbreak, Ryan Dean struggles with anxiety and fear of what may come. Coach M moves him up to the stand-off position on their rugby team and makes him team captain, but that responsibility might prove to be too much for young, Ryan Dean. To top it all off, he is assigned to live on the Freshman floor of the dorm with a 12 year old! Even with all of these challenges, Ryan Dean still has his girlfriend, Annie Altman, by his side.

After reading Winger last year, I had high hopes for Stand-Off. I was hoping to read more about his anxiety and how he copes with it. I also wanted to read more about their rugby team and Ryan Dean's final year of high school. And I think that was the biggest let-down. The novel takes place over the course of a few short weeks at school. Smith only covers one of the rugby matches in the season, which leads me to believe that the book couldn't have covered more than the first six weeks of school, tops.

My Goodreads review was this:
A nice story about Ryan Dean and his time at Pine Mountain. I definitely preferred Winger, but Stand-off was a nice tribute to Ryan Dean growing up and dealing with his anxiety following Joey's death. Unfortunately, in all 401 pages, only the last 2 talk about the end of his senior year and what his future might hold. Stand-off was severely lacking in rugby stories, unlike Winger, and it almost made Ryan Dean seem more like a little kid than the first go-around.

All-in-all, read Winger and make sure to read Stand-Off because it wraps up Ryan Dean's story, a little too nicely.






Happy Wednesday!








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