Missed Calls

Fiction - LGBTQ
268 Pages
Reviewed on 03/24/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Missed Calls is a work of fiction in the slice of life and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Zachary Ryan. The book follows two childhood friends, Cheyenne and Vanessa, as they reconnect as adults and reflect on the lives they have led and where their friendship stands after all these years. With Cheyenne freshly divorced and Vanessa’s life unfulfilling, their support for each other could provide a turning point in their struggles, but only if they can move past their feelings of regret and jealousy. Has life changed them too much to rekindle the friendship they once relied upon?

There comes a point in adult life where we find ourselves having fallen short of the expectations we had for ourselves as children, a point that can be painful but also meditative as we consider who we have become and where we may go from here. It is at this point that Missed Calls is set, following its two intense and deep leads as they reflect on divorce, an abandoned career, and a friendship that has been through dark times. Cheyenne and Vanessa are vivid characters who feel thoroughly grounded in reality, and Zachary Ryan’s masterful sense of pacing allows their characterization to gradually and carefully unfold on the page as they try to decide how to move forward in their lives. Overall, Missed Calls is a loving tribute to the friendships of our youth that manage to stand the test of time, even when we walk away from them and come back.

Iza Grek

Missed Calls by Zachary Ryan is essentially about relationships. Vanessa is married to Alec and pregnant with their second child. While this should bring her happiness, she feels something is lacking and envies Cheyenne, her childhood friend. He is thrilled to launch his book but is at the tail end of a divorce from his husband Reggie. The narrative in Missed Calls is led by Vanessa and Cheyenne. Each has their alter egos: Vanessa in her younger self and Cheyenne in the form of his evil self. These literary devices help to reveal more about the characters. Vanessa is suspicious of her husband’s potential affair, motive enough for her to go further than she intended with Elijah, her ex-boyfriend from years ago. Cheyenne, meanwhile, is finding the divorce difficult and becomes a little self-obsessed and needy.

The themes of jealousy and longing for missed opportunities drive the destructive behavior of both central characters, almost at the cost of their most important relationships. In Missed Calls, Zachary Ryan also integrates gay and straight relationships, illustrating both with equal intensity and emotional anxiety. He also touches loosely on race issues with a comment on the privilege of being white in America. Ryan has insight into human behavior and the emotional drivers that influence choice. Fortunately, all's well that ends well and Vanessa and Cheyenne choose anew, taking comfort in the fact that their relationship has been repaired and is solid once again. It is an easy book to read and I would recommend it to people struggling with their sexual identity, as it allows them to glimpse how these choices can be accepted in our modern society.

Jennifer Ibiam

Vanessa and Cheyenne were friends from the age of seven and lived in the small town of Calvert, Maryland. Both children planned to leave Maryland to find themselves and achieve their dreams. But in their early twenties, things changed. Vanessa gave up her dreams and got stuck in town being a wife and mother. Cheyenne always felt like a misfit because of his sexual orientation and absent family. He moved to Chicago, where a divorce happened, leaving Cheyenne in a dark place. Cheyenne’s friendship with Vanessa took a hit as life threw different sizes of curveballs at them. Will the two friends ever find themselves? Will their friendship survive the years of trials? Follow these broken souls as they fight for survival in Missed Calls by Zachary Ryan.

The reality of hindsight could be unraveling. Have you ever taken stock of your life and the choices you made? Did you follow your path, and are you satisfied or pleased with your present circumstances? Missed Calls by Zachary Ryan is a thought-provoking book that made me reflect. The novel would also appeal to misfits or those who gave up their dreams for any reason. No one should make you feel terrible, because all choices are learning curves. However, we must also look inward and ensure that we aren’t self-sabotaging, especially in our relationships. Summer was my favorite character in this novel. She was grounded and expressed my thoughts. However, Skylar was the worst. Cheyenne’s and Vanessa’s characters were draining but relatable. I also loved the plot, inherent message, and satisfying conclusion. Keep writing, Ryan.