Thursday, February 8, 2018
REVIEW: Ryan's Bed by Tijan
For the last few weeks? Months? I've been searching for books that make me feel, that make me hurt, bleed, ache, suck my soul through a straw and blow it out like glitter dust. I don't know why. Maybe it's the season. Maybe it's just a weird time in my life. Maybe it's just that I like when I'm so lost in what's going on in a novel that it's like I'm in a fog. I honestly don't know what this mood is all about and I don't care--all I know is that in my search to find novels that pack a punch, I've been successful--Ryan's Bed walloped me right in the feels.
I didn't know what to expect with my first Tijan book. The cover and the synopsis drew me in and so at 9 pm on a Saturday night, I decided to read the first chapter....which quickly turned into reading the first 10%....which then turned into me reading until I could no longer keep my eyes open and grabbing my kindle as soon as my eyes opened the next morning.
The story of Mackenzie and Ryan started with an immediate and unrelenting plunge into the aftermath of Mackenzie's grief. With each page and chapter her pain seemed to bloom and grow even as she tried to shove it down and the way that Tijan wrote this grief resonated so strongly. I feel like I've seen this in my life--as a friend, as someone who has lost people to suicide, and as a teacher to students who live through--and the way Mackenzie tries to cope felt familiar. Tijan really captured grief, but especially teenage grief, very astutely.
I also liked the way she built the relationship between Mackenzie and Ryan. Not only did it feel like like it feel like their feelings grew at the right pace, over time, but it was the way that they dealt with things. Ryan was absolutely amazing and wonderful and perfect. Seriously. I won't get spoiler-y but damn this guy couldn't be any better. Sheesh.
One last gushy thing. As a teacher of high school students, there were quite a few sections I wish I could project on the walls of the school. While Mackenzie may not have always handled some of the crap the popular kids threw at her with perfect grace, I loved her spunk. I loved how she handled the various confrontations. Her spirit and fight and desire to dismiss all the BS that accompanies bullies and typical high school power struggles was so empowering for me and I know it would be for many of my students.
As I mentioned, this was the first time I've read a book by Tijan and knowing there's a backlist I can start reading through, makes me a happy reading girl. (Though I reallllly wish Tijan would consider re-visiting these characters. I feel like there could be more story there to tell).
BUY IT on AMAZON.
I crawled into Ryan Jensen’s bed that first night by accident.
I barely knew him. I thought it was his sister’s bed—her room. It took seconds to realize my error, and I should've left...
I didn’t. I didn’t jump out. I didn’t get embarrassed.
And that night, in that moment, it was the only thing I craved.
I asked to stay. He let me, and I slept.
The truth? I never wanted to leave his bed. If I could've stayed forever, I would have.
He became my sanctuary.
Because—four hours earlier—my twin sister killed herself.
** Standalone full-length novel, Mature YA themes