Back in July, I had the supreme privilege of receiving an Advance Reviewer Copy of Andrew Smith's STAND OFF, the sequel to WINGER, which releases on 8 September.
Here is a picture of us, with the ARC in question:
Suffice it to say, I devoured it in one sitting and have been so excited for the final release.
Herewith are the top ten reasons you should be, too, in no particular order (except for number one, which is, in fact, in particular order):
#10: Rugby—Because I never in my life wanted to play rugby until I read WINGER, when it seemed like so much fun, and it's just as fun in STAND OFF. I love the nicknames and I love the camaraderie and Ryan Dean's teammates are great fun.
#9: Nico Cosentino—Joey's younger brother, who may or may not be avoiding Ryan Dean, but who has some my favorite scenes in the book.
#8: Joey Cosentino—Even though he's gone, Joey's ghost is never absent from Ryan Dean's senior year. Joey was one of my favorite characters, and seeing Ryan Dean deal with his grief and heartbreak helped me process my own.
#7: Annie Altman—Ryan Dean's girlfriend, who calls him out on his shit when he needs it but loves him anyway. STAND OFF features one of the sweetest, most honest depictions of a growing relationship I've ever read.
#6: Comics—Ryan Dean's drawings have been plagued by N.A.T.E., ruining his enjoyment of them, but not mine. The comics were rough drafts in the ARC, but there have been some previews of the final art posted, and they look brilliant.
#5: Road Trips!—Because what would the sequel to WINGER be without a road trip filled with frightening and memorable characters? I will never look at cheese the same again. (Okay, that's a lie. I will always look at cheese with nothing but love and devotion.)
#4: PRINCESS SNUGGLEWARM!
#3: Consent Boy—In WINGER, Ryan Dean acted like a little bit of a dirt bag. Not unsurprising, given most fourteen-year-old boys are at times. But in STAND OFF, Ryan Dean has to take a health class, where they discuss condoms and consent. It's so great to see Ryan Dean learn how to be a gentleman.
#2: The Abernathy—Sam Abernathy, Ryan Dean's new roommate, is a twelve-year-old freshman at Pine Mountain. He's insufferably adorable, earnest, and annoying—and boy does he grow on you. Also, he watches the Cooking Channel, and for someone who doesn't watch television, Andrew Smith has an impressive knowledge of advanced cooking techniques.
#1: Ryan Dean West—Because there are few more earnest characters in fiction, and none that I can think of that are as full of love as Ryan Dean West. It's a true joy to spend time with him and see him grow up.
STAND OFF releases 8 September. I've already got mine preordered. Why haven't you?