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
MacKenzie is drowning in grief. Her family just moved to a new state for her father’s job when her twin commits suicide and Mackenzie discovers her body. Suicides leave so many unanswered questions and such monumental pain under normal circumstances but a twin is already an exceptional loss. Her family is fractured in their grief and MacKenzie has no other support system, except for Ryan.
He’s a complete stranger when she accidentally finds her way into his bed but he’s experienced loss and does what he can to support her. They’re instant friends who bond over their mutual suffering. I expected this to take a codependent turn and turn into a toxic relationship or at least one perceived that way by the adults, but they had a healthy relationship and Ryan was her rock when nobody else in her life cared enough to bother.
She’s devastated and lost, seeing her twin and speaking to her. MacKenzie fears she’s losing her mind but also worries Willow is truly there. Nothing makes sense and she has no idea what to hope for because life is bleak. The few friends she had have abandoned her and she’s being bullied at school as her home life steadily deteriorates. Ryan has his own problems and pressure but he’s exactly what she needs. He’s sweet and caring and concerned, taking care of her when she can’t take care of herself. Their friendship evolves into more, a love that’s beautiful and inspiring but this isn’t a typical romance.
MacKenzie is struggling to fix her life, her family and herself but there’s a lot of work to do and it’s not going to be easy. Falling in love certainly helps her survive this devastation but it doesn’t solve her problems and even creates some new ones. I loved everything about these characters and their relationship. Makenzie’s life is heartbreaking and this is a very emotional story so I was worried it would get even darker but nothing prepared me for the ending. In some ways this was a cliffhanger but in others HEA, because you don’t always get an ideal ending, sometimes you get one that’s not the worst and need to appreciate it. That said, it ended better than I expected at some points but those final lines chilled me. The author has said she ended it that way in the hopes we’d read it again and see the story in a different light, but I need to recover a bit before I’ll be ready to tackle this one again. I will read it again though because this is a compelling story that’s a little too realistic for comfort but it’s beautiful and poignant.
Ryan’s Bed on Amazon.