Ryan Revisited - Sam  Davis

When you don’t have any idea who you are, how do you decide who you want to be? Who is Ryan Ester? The Southern-belle-in-training her estranged father wants her to be? The laid-back Montana girl she became after her parents’ divorce? Or someone she has to discover on her own? When Ryan’s only shot at going to college is on her father’s dime, Ryan leaves Bluffs, Montana to return to the antebellum South she once called home. As if the move wasn’t hard enough, Ryan’s first love, who recently left her a broken-hearted mess, has a scholarship to none other than Ryan’s destination, the University of the South. Ryan Ester may not know who she is, but she sure as heck knows who she doesn’t want to become. As she tries to navigate scandal, heartache, and the unbearable pressure to look and act perfect every waking second, she resents being pushed by everyone who wants to decide for her. For the sake of her own sanity and the hearts of those she cares most about, she will have to find a way to forge her own path. RYAN REVISITED is the story of a young woman’s search for identity. For serenity. For the perfect landing spot for her aching heart.

 

In theory, I felt like Ryan was going to be a character I'd relate to immensely--I, too, grew up in a place vastly different from where I attended high school and have had identity issues resultantly. However, this book was too dragged out and Ryan's motivations didn't often make sense.

 

In the prologue, Ryan breaks up with Manny, the guy she openly admits has held her together and been a vital part of her high school experience. This action isn't explained. Not once. Not at all. Not even when she's wishing he loved her still. I don't know if I just missed some vital part of the book, but I really don't get it. This frustrated me throughout the entire book as it simply did not make sense, and to me was a plot flaw the whole way through.

 

Ryan is also obsessed with pleasing her father, and again, this doesn't quite add up for me. She barely mentions her mother or pleasing her--it's only ever her father. She puts part of her motivation for joining a sorority on pleasing her father, but this seems a little extreme. When she was happy in Montana, I don't understand why she felt the need to go to U South.

 

She seems very naive and it disappointed me that when she turned to drinking to solve her problems, none of her friends said anything, and that she wasn't more concerned about her friend Savannah's cycle downwards.

 

The rest of the book was fine, but extremely lengthy--I felt like this was two books of its genre smushed together, and while I normally dislike such duos, this book just felt so long. I got sick of Ryan and I got sick of her sorority and I got sick of her flirting with guys and beginning to drink. The plot that was schemed by a fellow sorority girl was sickening, but did make the story intriguing and put Ryan in a fascinating moral dilemma.

 

The problems that I had with the premise bugged me while I was reading the book the whole way though and were distracting. There were some fun characters like Goody and Geoffrey, and some interesting insights into sorority life and how intense it can be at a big school, but I just felt like it was dragging on.

 

If this book had its premised explained a little better and was cut in half, it would be a very strong book. However, as it stands, it was simply too long to merit itself. While I think Davis has potential, I would recommend other similar books before this one.