author: Lisa Henry, J.A. Rock
published: 9 June 2023
genre(s): contemporary, lgbtqia+, romance
buy/shelve it: Amazon | BookBub | Goodreads
Ryan Lee is a hot mess.
In another lifetime, Ryan had it all. He was a child star in one of the biggest sitcoms on the planet. Now he’s an adult, unemployed, and a poster child for bad decisions. Okay, so he hasn’t robbed a convenience store yet, but only because he’s always either too high or too hungover. When the opportunity to film a reunion show comes up, Ryan jumps at the chance. He needs the money, but more than that, it might be what he needs to drag his career—and himself—out of the gutter.
Except seeing his former onscreen family again means seeing Chase Ellis–the guy who destroyed Ryan’s career by leaving the show, and the first boy Ryan ever kissed. Back when Ryan believed in fairytales, he thought he was in love with Chase, and the reunion brings all those old feelings racing back. But it drags up old secrets too. Ryan’s about to learn that, when it comes to Hollywood, the only happy endings are the ones that take place on screen.
Then again, maybe it isn’t a happy ending Ryan needs. Maybe it’s a new beginning.
Washed Up Former Child Star Ryan Lee is a standalone contemporary m/m second chance romance.
a few notes
content warning: ❗reference to drugs/alcohol/abuse❗
steamy rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
language level: 🤬🤬🤬🤬
POV: 1st person
keywords/phrases: addiction, abuse, redemption
This is a deeply emotional book, with some very heavy, intense themes that were often difficult to read. I commend the authors for handling difficult topics with both a sense of reality and respect for those that suffer.
Ryan is deeply flawed, some of which is the result of his own choices, much of it not. There are a lot of moments where it wouldn’t have been hard for him to be an unlovable character, but yet there was never a time that I didn’t feel for him. There was just something about him that I couldn’t help but feel for. Chase, too, has his scars and his own struggles. The pain that they both went through is heart-wrenching, which makes their story in the present a beautiful thing to read.
Romance is definitely a big part of the story, but I feel like it came secondary to Ryan’s story of healing and forging a new path. And that felt exactly as it should. With Ryan comes the idea that to be broken doesn’t mean that there is nothing left. One may be broken, but there is always the chance of fixing those cracks.
All in all, tough though it may be to read at times, the story is beautiful and full of hope.
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