Friday, July 31, 2015

What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

Pages: 320
Goodreads rating: 4.13 / 5 Stars
My Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic, Romance


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 Review:

Review originally posted on Goodreads

Thank you Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

What You Left Behind is an emotionally driven and realistic story. This is my first book by Jessica Verdi and her writing style is captivating and beautiful. The story tells about a single teenage parent,Ryden Brooks. He held a huge responsibility of being a parent and raising a child at a young age. His girlfriend, Meg Reynolds, passed away because of cancer. Instead of receiving treatments, she chooses to conceived their child. He was devastated and blames himself for Meg's death. As a senior high school student, it's stressful to him to take all this and as well as prepare for his future to get a scholarship.

He wasn't truly over her and still mourns her death. What's good in this mystery is that Meg wrote journals for him. He thinks that these journals will help him to become a good father for Hope (his daughter). There are bits and puzzles along the way. At his work, there was this girl, Joni, captures his interest. She was optimistic and fun to be with. Being with her enlightens Ryden whenever he feels stressed and down but he is scared that she might not like him because he has a daughter. 

I love how this is being told in the male perspective. Most of the YA books I've read are written in the female perspective and this is really refreshing for me. You can just feel Ryden's emotions and my heart breaks for him to carry such responsibility he wasn't ready for. Life isn't constant as the way we planned. It can change anytime and we need options. Of course, there are times we cannot do it alone. Sometimes, we need help to get through it. Another thing I love is Ryden's relationship with his mother. Strong relationship and I like how his mother gives him a sense of independence. She supports him no matter what. I must say some parts made me teary-eyed. It is a good ending and I love the protagonist's character development.

I am surely looking forward to reading more of Jessica Verdi's novels. I am definitely recommending this book. It was such a beautiful realistic story that touched my heart.


  1. This book has been getting amazing reviews that I am excited for its release next week!

    ~ Dre @ Sporadic Reads

    1. I recommend this book, Dre. It's one pretty good realistic / contemporary book :)

  2. 5 stars? Oh wow, this sounds indeed great! I like the cover a lot and that it's being told from Ryden's POV is definitely a plus ... you're right, most YA novels these days have females as their main lead. Oh well. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Great review! :)

    And also thank you for following! I follow you back - your blog looks awesome! <3
    Yvonne @ A World Between Folded Pages

    1. Thank you, Yvonne and you're welcome!