What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Age Group: Young Adult
Summary: 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?
My Thoughts: I wasn’t sure I was going to like this one, since the main character is a boy. I tend to read more books where girls are the main characters. But I did enjoy What You Left Behind. We are introduced to Ryden who has a daughter who is just a baby. He was with a girl who got sick and is no longer around. This was pretty devastating. Ryden is trying to do what he can to survive. He’s going to high school, has a job, and trying to support his baby with the help of his mom.
Ryden meets a new girl at his job. He feels guilty even having some sort of feelings for this other girl since it hasn’t been that long since his girlfriend died.
I really liked Ryden’s mom. She got it. She understood him a lot better than most moms would. She supported him. She loved him. She loved his baby. She understood.
Most of the book, we spent time looking for his old girlfriend's Meg’s notebooks. She left a few notebooks laying around for Ryden and a few others that explained her feelings during her last days.
I did like this one. It was also a very fast read for me. I liked Ryden as well but I never really fully connected with him even though I wanted too. I also liked Joni and her personality and how she understood Ryden and got it.
Overall: I liked this one. I read it in a night, Flew right through it. I think this one is more of a 3.5 cupcake rating for me.
Cover: Like it. Its kind of dark but still interesting.
What I'd Give It: