Books by Sara Ryan

Released: April 1, 2007

It's hard to believe that Battle Davies is a fictional character. Ironically enough, that's not exactly a good thing. The first-person narrative of the summer before she begins college reads more like a memoir than a novel. The plot is episodic, relationships are realistically random and confusing and many characters' motivations are murky. Battle's brother Nick ran away from home at 17. Now she's staying in the communal house where he lives. The story meanders along as Battle develops a crush on a housemate, joins a theater troupe and tries to rebuild her relationship with her adored older brother. Unfortunately, Nick turns out to be decidedly unworthy of her devotion. Battle's clear-eyed assessment of him as he finally heads home, bailed out by their parents, bodes well for her growing maturity but may leave readers feeling disappointed and disillusioned. Still, fans of Empress of the World (2001) will welcome the chance to follow up with a familiar character, while those who first meet Battle here may be sufficiently intrigued to turn to Ryan's earlier work to learn more about her. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2001

In a love story that breaks the usual rules ("There's two girls and a boy, but they're not in the roles you'd think they'd have"), Ryan has written an almost too-perfect awakening story. Nic is studying archaeology at a summer camp for academically gifted students. For the first time in her life, she discovers a group of friends surprisingly similar to herself—periphery kids who aren't loners but who don't quite fit in. In addition to Katrina and Isaac, Nic meets Battle, "Beautiful Hair Girl." The four quickly form a tight-knit group, but it's Battle who steals Nic's thoughts. As the lines of friendship blur, Nic and Battle struggle with a relationship that is almost as difficult for them to understand as it is for society. Even in an environment that respects her intellectually, Nic once again finds herself on the outside. Ryan uses a language that not only understands teenagers, but also illustrates respect for them. She also accurately represents a variety of reactions to Nic, from outright hostility and moderate wariness to neutrality and complete support. Seeing eye-to-eye with her characters, Ryan neither patronizes them nor builds them up. Both controversial and long-awaited, this helps to fill a need that is painfully obvious in YA literature and introduces a wonderful new voice. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >