I discovered Tijan last year, when I fell in love with Fallen Crest. I think I’ve read everything she’s written since then. The reason for this? Her characters are so real. Ryan’s Bed is no different, but the story feels different. There’s deeper emotion, here. This book straddles the line between YA and NA, but it resonates with all of us. As Tijan walks us through the stages of grief, trauma, and recovery, she does it from every angle. All the characters add to the narrative of what it means to suffer a loss.
Mackenzie is one of those characters that everybody can relate to. She’s not popular, then she is. She’s not the shining star–but she is outside her own view. She’s the character who thinks she’s expendable, but in reality becomes integral to so many people. I love how she doesn’t just move forward. There are moments where she slides back, and there are moments where she moves farther back than where she started. Through it all, though, is this complicated and tangled and ridiculously sweet mess of a relationship with Ryan. At one point, Mac says “We went fast, but I had a feeling we went exactly the way we were supposed to.” As a reader, I have to agree with her. Tijan is able to write a very fast, but very natural relationship between Mac and Ryan that has you rooting for them even as you’re wondering how it could last.
Perhaps the most gut-wrenching part of this whole story of grief and loss is the ending. I won’t give it away, but it came as such a surprise, I think I sat there in shock for 10 minutes. It makes sense…it’s not one of those that catches you off-guard because it’s out of left field and you have to re-write all your theories, but it DEFINITELY puts a new light and understanding on Mac and her journey through grief and acceptance.
Another must-read from Tijan, for sure. Grab your copy by clicking on the image below.