What You Left Behindby Jessica Verdi
Published by Sourcebooks, Fire on August 4th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead, he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.
The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?
Um, yeah… this book… is full of… feels.
Wait! Let me start over! Phew… okay. I don’t like to read realistic, contemporary, emotional, this-could-happen stories. I steer clear of them. But for some reason, this one called to me. It might have been the hauntingly beautiful cover art. It might have been the story of a teenage father left with a daughter to raise on his own. Either way, I had to have this!
At first I was
Then I was
Then this happened
So I felt like this
Then I got “it”
And then I was at the end
This is the first book I’ve ever read by Ms. Verdi and I’ve got to say, she is fantastic ALL AROUND! First, I loved the depth of story she brought out. There were so many facets to this tragic story and she hit on just about every one of them. She didn’t take the easy way out with her story, either. It was a difficult situation but that wasn’t the main focus for her plot. I think her main focus was on Ryden changing his perception of the world around him. Not easy for a teenage boy to do when he has his future already planned.
Ms. Verdi’s side characters were incredibly authentic. I felt like I really understood Alan, Meg’s best friend, and his mom, despite their dialogue being limited. Their actions said more than words could. Same goes for Ryden’s friends. I will say that Joni, although she was straight front with Ryden in everything, I was always waiting for something to be wrong with her. I ended up really liking her and everything she did (and everything she didn’t put up with!)
Wow, I used to not read these type of realistic, tragedy filled books but look at me now! You never know, I might even stop hating on .gifs!!