What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi | Review

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.

What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi | ReviewWhat You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi
Published by Sourcebooks on August 4, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 358
Format: ARC
Source: Netgalley

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?

What You Left Behind follows a guy named Ryden whose girlfriend just passed away fairly recently. Ryden got his girlfriend, Meg, pregnant, though she decided to keep the baby even though it meant getting rid of chemo treatments for her cancer. She thought that she’d be able to make it the nine months, though she was wrong.
For some reason, I found this story just okay. I liked Ryden a lot and I thought it was really cool that he had Meg’s old journals. Honestly, I think that was the coolest part of the story…the journal that he found. However, I just didn’t find the tale all that gripping. I did find it extremely sad though, especially with the tragedy that had recently occurred with Meg.
Despite all of that, I did read the entire book, so there was something that definitely kept me reading. I honestly wanted to know how Ryden ended up, because going through something like that had definitely taken a huge toll on him and I can understand why. On top of that, he also had to care for his new child while also juggling school and soccer, which is mom was so adamant about him not playing at all. He had so many responsibilities that I couldn’t even imagine having at this age. In the end, What You Left Behind was an alright book, though I’m going to be sure to check out more by Verdi in the future.

About Jessica Verdi

Jessica Verdi is an author of young adult novels and children’s books about identity, family, acceptance, and love.

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 theatre and music were meant to be her creative outlets. After nearly ten years in the NYC theatre world, 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 is a freelance editor of romance, women’s fiction, chick lit, YA, and kid lit. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her partner Paul and dogs Billie and Gloria.


1 Comment

  • Olivia-Savannah

    It's a shame this book couldn't take your breath away, but it still sounds like a pretty decent read. I want more books like this where it is from a male perspective, and you don't hear about single fathers in YA much so I will be trying this one eventually!

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