Review {What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi}

Posted August 17, 2015 by Bee in Guest Review, Reviews / 4 Comments

Review {What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi}

What You Left Behind

by Jessica Verdi
Published on August 4th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Goodreads

Also by this author: My Life After Now, The Summer I Wasn't Me

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?

5 Stars

I just love Jessica Verdi so very much. I have read all three books from her now and I love all of them. They’re all so fantastic and I really hope she keeps delivering great books like this in the future. They’re all very emotional and heartbreaking, but in the end I’m always smiling. And this one is no different and that makes me very happy.

What You Left Behind is about Ryden. Ryden feels guilty, because it’s all his fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and she’d still be alive. Instead, Ryden is failing at fatherhood alone, one diaper at a time. Taken care of a baby while you’re still so young is hard enough, but taking care of a baby while mourning someone you loved so much is even harder. So when Ryden meets Joni at his work, he doesn’t tell her everything about him and he’s starting to feel like his old self again. But then he finds an old journey from Meg and it stirs up old emotions. Ryden’s convinced Meg has left him other journals to find with a message that could help him make sense of his life. But how can you have a future when you’re stuck in the past?

One of the reasons I love Jessica’s books is that she doesn’t shy away from tough subjects and how well she handles them in her books. I never feel like she’s beating me over the head with moral lessons. No, she’s telling a story of someone in a tough situation. One that is very much possible in real life. Though I’ve never been in a situation like those she’s tackled in her books so far, I know that someday she will write a book about a situation I am familiar with and I know she’ll do a great job at it. And I know it’ll hit me personally too. And it’ll be hard to read, but it’ll be worth it because of who wrote it. I don’t need to tell you the writing is great, do I? Good. Because it is. It really is.

In this particular book we deal with teen pregnancy and also cancer, a bit. And like always, Jessica doesn’t try to teach us a lesson on how stupid it is to get a kid when you’re still a kid yourself. Instead she shows how hard life is as a teen parent. It’s not easy and your life will change because you’ll have to take care of a whole other person. You will have to make sacrifices for that baby and though it’ll be worth it because there’s probably nothing greater in the world than being a parent (I’m not a parent, but I imagine that’s the general thought of most parents…), it’s really hard. And this book shows that because it’s not easy for Ryden. More so for him because he’s also mourning the mother of the baby, his girlfriend Meg, whom he loved so very much. He hasn’t been able to let go of her yet and he never really said goodbye either. He became a dad and he lost Meg all in one day and I really felt bad for him. He was a wonderful main character and I loved seeing him grow over the course of the book.

I also have to mention his mom, who is one of the best parents ever. She is so supportive and helpful and amazing and I just loved her! I also loved Joni and her romance with Ryden. I liked Alan and Mabel, Meg’s best friend and her sister. And yes, I have to say I also liked Meg. I didn’t get much from her and I only met her through the pieces of her journal, but I got a pretty good glimpse at who she was and I liked her. I saw enough to feel the struggle and pain Ryden felt.

What You Left Behind is another fantastic book by Jessica Verdi. It’s emotional and hearbreaking but also very sweet and touching and it made me smile in the end. I highly recommend this book to all fans of contemporary. Go read it!



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