Thursday, November 19, 2015

HOLIDAY HAPPINESS: Book Review: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

Title: What You Left Behind
Author: Jessica Verdi
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Format Read: Paperback

Description from Goodreads: 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?

I picked up WHAT YOU LEFT BEHIND because there aren't too many book in the YA section that deal with teen pregnancy. Even fewer from the dad's pov. So I was interested in this one from the start and picked it up on release day. It took me a day to read it, and honestly, it was kind of bleh.

First off, Ryden was a terrible father. He took his grief and anger from Meg's death out on the baby, and while that may be accurate to how some people would act, I think Ryden took it a little too far. Also, there was a lot about Meg that didn't feel believable, and the journal idea seemed a bit overdone.  I was expecting a deep and emotional read with that premise, but instead I got a book that felt superficial and trivial, not to mention the language and the inappropriateness of a few scenes. A lot of the characters' actions didn't make sense, and I felt like this one was just kind of spastic. 

I would give WHAT YOU LEFT BEHIND a single star, though I can't help but notice that it has almost a complete four stars on Goodreads. Maybe I'm the only one that really didn't like this one, but that's okay. Just wasn't my thing.


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