Review: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

Posted August 17, 2015 in Review / 5 Comments

Review: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

What You Left Behind

by Jessica Verdi
Published by Sourcebooks, Fire on August 4th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: eARC

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.

AmazonBarnes&Noble Goodreads
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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!!


About Jessica Verdi

Jessica Verdi

Jessica Verdi is a young adult author who writes envelope-pushing stories about not-so-pretty real-life issues, but always with a positive spin.

Though she’s always been a bookworm (her childhood was basically defined by the philosophy that working your way through giant stacks of library books is far superior to playing outside), she remained convinced throughout high school and college that the stage—rather than the page—was meant to be her creative outlet. After nearly ten years pounding the NYC pavement auditioning for musicals (and sometimes actually getting cast in them), she got an idea for a novel. That novel was an adult magical realism story, and while it will never see the light of day—nope, don’t ask—it was the book that started her love affair with writing. Now she can’t imagine doing anything else.

Jess received her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School and works as an editor at a romance novel publisher. She loves all animals, from the cute and cuddly to the large and freakish, has been a vegetarian for most of her life, is a little too obsessed with TV shows about vampires, and has an amazing group of writer friends who keep her sane.

Jess lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and dog.





About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of "happily ever after" books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It's for her family's sake. When not reading, she's homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

Tags: ,


Subscribe via Email

Finally, FINALLY fixed! After days lost trying to fix... ;)

5 responses to “Review: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi