Author: Andrew Smith
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published: May 14th 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids in the Pacific Northwest. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.
With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.
First line: “I said a silent prayer.”
My Thoughts (contains spoilers)
Okay, so I really enjoyed this book. Like really, really enjoyed it. I completely thought throughout that it was just going to be a book about the trials and tribulations of a fourteen year old boy at boarding school, and it pretty much was just about that, until the end. And I need to talk about the ending first because WHAT IN THE HOLY HELL WAS THAT ENDING?!
Honestly, I was so shocked about the whole Joey-found-dead-in-the-woods-naked-and-beaten-to-death climax that I didn’t believe it at first. It all seemed so blunt and sudden and sort of like Prim’s death in Mockingly – I just couldn’t believe it. I mean, why Joey? He was so friendly and approachable and loyal and ugh, I’m going to end up crying again 😦
This whole section of the book felt a tad pointless to me at first and so out of character but I guess, upon reflection, there are a few lessons that can be learned after reading this. The main ones beings that bad things happen to good people for absolutely no reason and that horrible things happen unexpectedly – at anytime. The main character, Ryan Dean, was only concerned about the school dance and his girlfriend, Annie, that night when, out in the woods, his best friend was being beaten to death. I actually still can’t believe it.
Although I’m still in shock about Joey’s death I thought Ryan Dean’s reaction to it was pretty interesting and relatable. After such a horrific event takes place, it can be difficult to talk about and can result in people not wanting to talk at all. I thought this was portrayed well, even though the ending of the book felt rushed – I guess it was supposed to feel like that, due to the fact that Ryan Dean didn’t want to talk about what had happened for long.
Woah. Okay, I’m actually making this sound so morbid and it’s only like that for about three percent of the book, I swear. The other ninety seven percent is pure comedy gold and a true representation of life as a fourteen year old.
This book definitely scores a 5-out-of-5-LOLS-on-my-list-of-books-that-made-me-lol *inserts diagram* (see what I did there? I am such a loser).
Anyway, the real highlight of this book for me was most definitely the characters and how much they remind me of people I knew when I was fourteen and actually a little bit of what I was like back then too. I used Annie’s whole “You’re such a pervert,” line like, all the time when I was fourteen because how else can you deal with horny teenage boys at that age? I liked the characters so much because they felt real and everything that came out of their mouths was so ridiculous and hilarious. Chas always made me laugh because of the stuff he called people – it reminded me so much of the high school boys I was surrounded by for five years straight.
I found the romance between Annie and Ryan Dean to be quite sweet – it wasn’t over done and I found how Annie dealt with her feelings for Ryan Dean to be quite real. Age is just a number but when you’re fourteen it’s kind of a big deal – especially involving a two year age gap.
I honestly think Ryan Dean’s character is fantastic. The way he thinks of himself is incredibly relatable and the mistakes he makes is incredibly relatable and THIS WHOLE BOOK IS INCREDIBLY RELATABLE TO MY FOURTEEN YEAR OLD SELF. Wow, ok, I need to shut up now.
– I thought the characters were great,
– The ending was shocking,
– I liked the writing style,
– I loved the illustrations,
– I still can’t believe Joey is dead
– And I can’t wait to read Stand-Off.
This review is all over the place, I hope you can decipher it.
I am such a loser.