Published: July 5 2016
Number of pages: 272
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: contemporary, psychological thriller, LGBTQ
Rating: 5/5 owl hoots
Seventeen-year-old Ryan Poitier Sharpe’s greatest joy is hurling herself out of planes at her parent’s skydive center in the Mojave Desert. She feels more alive by thriving on the edge, but with their business failing the family plans a big dive to advertise their airstrip. Ryan is willing to prove herself that she can do what it takes by joining the skydive team and pulling off a dangerous stunt that leads to her being grounded by her parents. In desperate need of adrenaline rush, Ryan uses LSD with a group of friends and lands in the hospital. After her brush with death, Ryan is no longer the thrill-seeking girl she once was. Suddenly she is more cautious and is afraid to take risks. But whose eyes are those staring back at her in all reflective surfaces? As her relationship crumbles and her behavior is bizarre and reckless, Ryan must fight the girl she has become or lose herself.
I was provided an advanced reading copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Copying and/or editing my words is strictly prohibited.
After finishing this book I was speechless, I couldn’t find the words to express my feelings. This story was so emotional and riveting at the same time, and ended with a powerful message about living your life on the edge. I have read contemporary YA before, but this one stands on top of my list as one of the most recommended books of this year.
Ryan Sharpe is a seventeen-year-old thrill seeker. With her parents owning a skydiving business, Ry loves jumping out of a plane because it makes her feel alive. She is addicted to the rush; the thrill of jumping off and riding the current almost feels like flying. Ryan has always lived life dangerously and prefers taking risks rather than playing it safe. She is one of the most complex characters I have met from testing her limits and living off the edge to turning into a fragile and broken girl. Apart from her thrill seeking side she is also intelligent, brave, caring and loves to give death the middle finger before jumping off a plane and landing solo. But Ryan also has a wounded side which is something that we can relate to, and until she has her first near death experience after taking LSD do we see more of this softer side in her. She becomes a completely different person who is afraid to look at mirrors but she cannot help wonder is the person staring back her own reflection or a shell of a girl she once knew?
This story is exactly how it is described in the synopsis but so much more! I mean who doesn’t admire someone who laughs at death? Some of us would look up to that person thinking they are unbeatable and might even want to be like them; someone who is fearless and knows what it feels like to be fully alive. I personally don’t see myself skydiving as I have a big fear of heights and maybe it’s how I was raised, but I’ve always been the kind of person who follows the rules and rather play it safe than sorry. Although that doesn’t mean I try to challenge myself and exploring what is outside my comfort zone. Watching Ryan growing out of her shell and confronting her fears were the most intense scenes, and with every confrontation in front of a mirror there was always suspense because I was so intent to see what Ryan will do next to bring back the girl she once was. I think we all need a Ryan in our life, someone who inspires us to test our limits and challenges us to live on the wild side but also has a broken side that we can relate to.
The story is told in first person and in Ryan’s point of view. It’s almost like I was reading her journal as she pools out her thoughts, feelings, her fears and paranoia as we dive deeper into her psyche and understand everything that’s going around in her eyes. A story about a girl fighting herself is told before but not like this. This story will blow your mind as we see the dramatic change in her character. I was so fixated with Ryan that I refused to put the book the down because I wanted to see her fight back, to see her return to the old Ryan I fell in love with since the beginning. But one of the best parts was how the story ended with a heartbreaking and powerful message that we should take and consider. Seriously this story will blow your mind and will leave you with so many feels that I recommend this book to everyone and you won’t regret reading this! Just buy this book and read it.