SST August – What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

Posted August 2, 2015 in blogtour, giveaway, review / 0 Comments

SST August – What You Left Behind by Jessica VerdiWhat You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi
on August 4th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eARC
Pages: 368
Source: NetGalley
Amazon - B&N - Book Depository
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Jessica Verdi, the author of My Life After Now and The Summer I Wasn't Me, returns with a heartbreaking and poignant novel of grief and guilt that reads like Nicholas Sparks for teens.
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. 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?
"Ryden's story is a moving illustration of how sometimes you have to let go of the life you planned to embrace the life you've been given. A strong, character-driven story that teen readers will love."-Carrie Arcos, National Book Award Finalist for Out of Reach

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.

This book broke my heart, seriously. From page one to the last page, I was sobbing my heart out. What I loved about this book was that the main character was about a GUY. We’ve always been given those stories whereby a girl has to go through her high school, being a teenage mom, because her ex-boyfriend ran away. But it’s quite refreshing to read one from a guy’s perspective. Reading this book was like riding on an emotional roller-coaster. There were times when you would laugh, but there were times when your heart would break for Ryden.

Ryden was a typical senior year kid. He already had everything planned out, but then he got stuck with a baby. Even worse, the girl he loved died. Throughout the book, I loved how the author showed the way he grew and his many many flaws. He wasn’t some super teen dad. He made tons of mistakes, most of which you’ll probably be like OH NO YOU DID NOT. It made him seem more real, and I love Ryden for all his flaws, and at times, stupid decisions.

This book wasn’t really that focused on romance, which was a good thing (to me), because I think that the focal point was just about Ryden. But hey, the kid deserves a happy ending, right? That’s where Joni comes in. It started out slow, the romance was quite slow and that was for the best. But for those who do love romance, I think you’ll love the transition in which Ryden finally let go of Meg and fell for Joni.

I still cry when I think about this book, especially that part about those journals. That part will really break your heart. But you will also fall for Ryden. And basically his every ways.

Jessica Verdi lives in Brooklyn, NY, and received her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School. She loves seltzer, Tabasco sauce, TV, vegetarian soup, flip-flops, and her dog. Visit her at www.jessicaverdi.com and follow her on Twitter @jessverdi.
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