Review: Devon McCormack – When Ryan Came Back by

when ryanAuthor: Devon McCormack
Reviewer: Sandra
Publisher: Harmony Ink
Genre: M/M Young Adult
ISBN: 9781632164568
[xrr rating=4/5]

Steven’s life changes forever the day he discovers his childhood friend and lifelong crush, Ryan Walters, standing in his bedroom. The problem? Ryan Walters committed suicide just days earlier.

Ryan tells Steven that he didn’t kill himself. He believes he was murdered and that his death is linked to an article he was working on for the school paper. Steven sets out to solve the mystery, but as the story unfolds, so does Ryan’s secret life of sex with guys and depression. Steven realizes suicide is more plausible than Ryan’s conspiracy theory, but he struggles to convince Ryan of the real cause of his death. And despite revelations of his friend’s closeted life, he must face the truth that Ryan doesn’t—and never will—love him.
I have to say, this one threw me for a loop. Did I stay up until 1:30 in the morning to finish it even though I had to wake up for work at7:30? Yeah, I did. Did I get totally fooled by the M. Night Shyamalan twists and red herrings? Yup, you know it. Did I have no idea what was going on, love-interest wise? No clue. And I really enjoyed all of it.

I went into this thinking that his BFF was gonna come back from the dead and they were gonna realize they loved each other. I was both devastated and elated to find out that his friend, was in fact, straight. I was heartbroken for Steven, but I appreciated that if Ryan is straight then he’s straight and this was something Steven would have to deal with. With the introduction of his project-partner, Tyler, I figured maybe something would be kindled there. But then, we start to realize, they weren’t even BFF, and I started wondering what the hell was going on. They had been BFF until they were 8 and Ryan moved, then they went to the same high-school, but didn’t start hanging out until recently. Even then, only ever alone and occasionally (when Ryan’s other friends were busy, as Steven’s friend Lyndsy so astutely observed).

But don’t worry, not all is as it seems. My point being, I was kept on my toes. As piece by piece of the mystery begins to unravel, we learn how much Ryan was keeping secret, from everyone. And I honestly wasn’t sure whether this would turn out to be a murder-mystery at all, or if Ryan really did kill himself.

Despite the subject, don’t worry, it’s not really a tear-jerker. Intense at times, and certainly bitter-sweet in places, but a YA murder-mystery for the most part with the obvious paranormal twist. But actually, I never cried about Ryan being dead, I only cried when Steven finally realizes that his feelings for Ryan will never be returned (I’m a big softie). So they fight, and make up, and Steven deals with his crazy mom, and Tyler pokes his head around, and mayhem ensues.

It was probably a little heavy on the mayhem, but like I said, detours and twists and red herrings. Can’t figure out how this could possibly end happily? Well, I’m not telling! You’ll hafta read it for yourself.

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