Ryan Lee’s life is completely off track. He was a child star on a popular family sitcom and that was all he knew. When the show was cancelled, Ryan was unemployed and, with no guidance, his life became a series of bad decisions. Ryan now lives off of residuals and a constant high with his best friend, Kristen, and Ryan does things he’d rather not talk about in exchange for drugs. He wants to be an actor again and, when gets invited to film a reunion show, Ryan thinks this could be his way back in.
Ryan’s former TV family includes Chase Ellis, the first boy Ryan ever kissed and the guy Ryan blames for destroying his career when he abruptly left the show. Going back for a reunion show brings up all sorts of feelings for Ryan, but he’s not stable enough to handle any of it. There are also secrets—secrets about Chase that Ryan knows nothing about. Life isn’t scripted and Ryan needs to make big changes to get that fresh take he desperately wants, but has no idea how to get.
When the writing team of Henry and Rock are in the zone, they produce great books. Ryan Lee is a well-developed character and his life is well illustrated throughout the book. Ryan’s parents only saw him as a paycheck and, when he legally separated from them, his agent was his guardian for a while. His cast mates became his best friends and family and since the show ended, Ryan’s life has drastically imploded. He has not seen Chase in many years and has never gotten over the trauma of losing him and his TV family.
It can be difficult to read about Ryan. He knows he needs to do something with his life, but he has no idea how to turn it around. He’s gone to rehab in the past, but he’s an addict and being drunk and high feels great in the moment, but the regret he feels each day is mounting. The book is told solely from Ryan’s POV and this is primarily his story.
We slowly learn more about the people that were around Ryan, including his agent and then Chase. Ryan became so wrapped up in his life and his pain, he never looked around or thought anyone else had a story and Chase has one. An adult relationship between Ryan and Chase is also not the focus here. They are both still tied to those young boys they were when in love for the first time and they hold onto those feelings when they meet again. We don’t get to see them truly interact as healthy adults, as Ryan has so many issues, and they fall back on a relationship that is a decade old.
The authors’ note at the beginning of the book states that this is a happy-for-now story, as Ryan still has a lot of work to do at the end of the book, but he is on a better path. The romance and relationship is not the central part of this story, but Ryan is a wonderfully crafted character and, if you are looking for a character with a difficult journey, this is an excellent choice for that.