What You Left Behind

What You Left Behind

by Jessica Verdi


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492608745
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 08/04/2015
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 654,342
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: HL670L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

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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What You Left Behind 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it and I wish it never ended
BoundlessBookaholic More than 1 year ago
It was a really emotional book. I cried a little bit, I loved what happens towards the end, even though the cliffhanger-y ending felt like a little bit of a letdown to me. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who loves contemporary romance stories with a deeper, emotional subject matter. I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
RyanBada More than 1 year ago
Link to my full review of What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi: https://bookishconfessions1.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/sst-1-what-you-left-behind-by-jessica-verdi-review-and-giveaway/ I think so far, Ryden is one of the most realistic characters from the books I’ve read this year. As I was reading this book, I felt the struggles and his stress in front of me that he’s trying to balance out. With his AP classes, his job at the grocery store, playing soccer so he can get his ticket to go to his future college, UCLA, and mostly, taking care of his daughter, Hope, it’s difficult to accomplish all of that, especially when you’re parenting while going to school, from a teen’s viewpoint, not an adult who still goes to school. I didn’t expect Meg to come as much in the book. When you read a book with someone grieving over their loved one’s death, you would hear just mentions of it but in the book, I feel like Meg was vital to the storyline and as it progresses, it shows that Meg is still a big character of the book not just the recurring. Reading Meg’s journals, Ryden’s flashbacks of her, and how much they bring up Meg are how she became so significant in the book. This character development of Ryden was what I love most. In the start, he was so stressed since he hadn’t have some “father” experience in parenting as he tries to calm Hope down from the wailing and still has been in grief about Meg’s death. But in the end, he became a pro with nurturing her and he didn’t have the need to go see his father for parenting advice, which I don’t get why he still does when her mom said that he left him as he was a baby. But yeah he is a dad currently with a new family and knowing the ways a father takes care of a baby/child are a bit different than what the mom does when it comes to taking care of a baby, it explains everything about that I guess. But he didn’t in the end. And another thing about his transformation is that he moved on with Meg. The only thing I was a bit disappointed with is that even though Ryden’s mom and Ryden have a strong family bond with each other, I didn’t get to see the mom as much as I wanted it to be. Again with Meg becoming an important person, with Ryden’s mom, it’s vice versa from it. The parents in every book have known to not occur as much in the book. And even though Verdi get the mom to be around more often then the parents are usually in in their book, I don’t think it was enough to make me think that she’s substantial to the novel. I enjoyed the romance between Ryden and Joni. Joni works at the same place Ryden works at and comes out very cool and collected. I like that Verdi gave a little diversity to it though a bit sad with not showing that she’s Mexican, but coming from a school where I see many people with different races, you’ll wouldn’t see their whole culture he/she is from just a person you’re friends with or just by looking at him / her. But anyway, I like how their relationship has set up to be. So even though the second part of the book really change things up, it didn’t really affect how much I like this book. I still like it and I have a few debacles about it, maybe a bit from the surprise but still, I like it. Cover and Premise – 4 Stars Characters – 4.5 Stars Story – 4.5 Stars Pacing – 3.5 Stars Writing - 3.5 Stars Results - 4 Stars
EllenRozek More than 1 year ago
The #1 thing that makes Jessica Verdi's novels so compulsively readable for me is the way she centers her stories around tough issues without compromising good characterization or resorting to melodrama. Ryden is a seventeen-year-old soccer player, trying to adjust to life as a single father after his girlfriend Meg lost her battle with cancer. He walks this constant line between trying to move ahead with the life he has always had, going to practice and planning for college and working part-time, and desperately trying to hold onto his memories of Meg and the relationship they shared. He makes a lot of mistakes out of selfishness or preoccupation or despair, and he's frequently overwhelmed by the responsibilities that have been foisted upon him. Ryden's rationalizations for finding his father or keeping his own fatherhood a secret from Joni are laid out on the page in such a way that the reader can recognize how dysfunctional his thinking is, even though Ryden himself can't. I was rooting for him from the very beginning, even when he manipulated other characters or lost sight of his responsibilities as a parent, because it was painfully clear on every page how desperately he wanted to rewind the clock and keep Meg alive. The hunt for Meg's journals could've easily become useless filler in the hands of a less competent author, but Verdi brilliantly wove Ryden's search for answers into Meg's end-of-life desire to tell the truth in a poignant, necessary way. Basically, I plan to go on reading any and all contemporary YA Jessica Verdi writes, and I think you should do the same.
Holly More than 1 year ago
What You Left Behind is the story of how falling in love, losing someone and becoming a teenage father will change your life forever. Ryden is a superstar soccer player when his love, Meg gets pregnant but the catch is, she is dying from cancer. When Meg dies giving birth to their daughter, Hope, Ryden falls apart trying to manage how to be a soccer player, father, student until one day at work he meets Joni, who will show him that it's ok to love again. Meg left Ryden three journals to find but soon regrets finding the second one right before a game that will make or break him. After a night of falling apart and secrets out in the open, Ryden is finally given the third journal by someone he lest expected to have it. After realizing that he needs to move forward and give love a second change, everything falls together like it should! I really liked this book and it just draws you in just wanting to know what happens next. I do think this book would be good for teenagers to read just for the fact that it shows what getting pregnant can do to someone at a young age. It would be kinda cool to see a sequel on how everyone is in ten years or so or maybe even have Hope as a main character either way, I'm definitely gonna be reading more Jessica Verdi's books in the future! Thank You to Jessica Verdi for writing a book that has you captivated from the first page to the very last word!! I received this book from the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
Can I just start by saying that this book is fan-freaking-tastic? What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi was a novel that managed to capture my attention from the novel’s brief synopsis and held onto me ever since. The premise of a single, teen father is unique and the plot of the novel will leave readers eager to continue reading if it means discovering the secrets that control the storyline. I’m just going to say it now (and probably reiterate it later) that What You Left Behind is a novel that everyone should read. It’s that good. About to enter his senior year of high school and ready to earn a soccer scholarship, Ryden isn’t anything like other teenagers. Mourning the loss of his girlfriend, Meg, Ryden is consumed with guilt. Why? Because Meg had cancer… and got pregnant with Ryden’s baby. Carrying their daughter took her life and Ryden can’t stop blaming himself. If he hadn’t gotten her pregnant, she would still be alive and with him. Alone and trying to figure out parenthood by himself while also juggling his day-to-day life, Ryden reads Meg’s journals to learn more about the girl he loved. But as he begins to read more of Meg’s journals, he begins to discover that she’s left behind a mystery for him to solve. There are secret journals that she’s left for him and Ryden is deadset on finding them. All the while, Ryden meets Joni. She’s unique, to say the least. She’s a bit weird and a bit awesome and a bit sexy. As Ryden embarks on a mission to truly know everything about Meg before it’s too late, he begins to realize that first loves might not always be your last love, and that nothing is ever what it seems. The way that What You Left Behind is written is so perfect. I can’t get over the amount of feels that I felt because of this novel or the amount of times that I squealed with joy and then slammed the book down in frustration. The way that Verdi writes easily evokes a multitude of emotions in the reader. Told in the first person, What You Left Behind is simplistic and fun, but also nails Ryden’s character. He’s believable. The type of guy whose head screams ‘Popular Jock’ and also ‘Jerkish Asshole’ at times. What You Left Behind is unique in that the way the story is told has you feeling like you’re reading two different stories at once. The first, is Ryden’s story of parenthood and stress and trying to make ends meet. The second, is a normal, teenage Ryden falling in love with Meg. The way that Verdi writes Ryden’s flashbacks to his and Meg’s time together is perfection. You see their relationship unfold before your eyes and you want nothing more than for the two characters to end up together. The catch: you already know how their love story ends. It’s heartbreaking and tragic and I loved every moment of it. What You Left Behind is the kind of novel that you could easily finish in one sitting. As the plot thickens, the story becomes addictive and it’s impossible to not want to know more. It feels real in the most unreal way. I would recommend What You Left Behind to readers who are looking for a novel that will hook them and hold on tight. Readers who are fans of YA contemporary romances should definitely give it a look. Any readers who want a novel with a unique storyline and a series of plot twists that will leave them reeling, should also give it a look. This is one story that you don’t want to miss.
Katie_breathofbooks More than 1 year ago
I really liked this story, and the characters in it. The main character was Ryden, a male character, which is fairly unique for YA books since more are typically female characters. Not only that, but the topic itself was one that I've never read before - the story of a teen dad. I've read a few teen pregnancy books before, and they've all focused on the mom. The only other one that I've read with a would-be teen dad was a book when the girl got an abortion, so he wasn't actually dealing with being a father. So I loved seeing this plotline explored. Ryden read as a very real character to me. He certainly wasn't perfect, but he was trying to be the best father that he could be for his daughter. Sure, he made plenty of mistakes along the way, and there were times that he was pretty selfish, focusing on his life and his future while handing his daughter off to other caretakers. And I didn't really get how he thought that meeting his father who he had never known would be the missing piece that would make him into a good father. After all, his father had left before he was born, so it wasn't like he was ever a real father to him. So yeah, I didn't get his fixation on finding out who his father was. Luckily, that wasn't that much of the story. Someone in this story who was great as a parent was Ryden's mom. She was so supportive of him the entire time, and she was also a great grandmother to his daughter. She had raised Ryden on her own as a single mom, and she really was amazing at it. I loved her support for him, while also pushing him when it was necessary in certain areas. I loved reading about Ryden's relationships with people, both in the past and the present. Meg had already died at the start of the book, but we got to find out more about her through the snippets of the journals that she wrote that were included in the book. I'm not completely sure how I felt about her in the end, but there were parts when I did like her. Ryden also had a developing relationship with a girl who worked with him at a grocery store named Joni. This was a friendship to romance progression that I really liked. It was also interesting to see how it was really freeing for him to be with her at first, since she didn't know about his past and about his daughter, but eventually this became difficult, since he didn't want to keep secrets from somebody so important to him.
Kristi-Reads More than 1 year ago
As a mother who had a kid fairly young (I was out of high school, but only just) the first chapter held my heart in a vice, and I was hooked to keep reading even though there was a little voice in my head saying "to get exactly 7 hours and 56 minutes of sleep tonight I need to go to sleep RIGHT NOW." 20% impression: the emotions in this book arr so real. The characters are well developed and the grief and issues they go through are neither overstated or muted. I'm embarrassed to say this is the only book about cancer I've read since TFIOS, but when you compare them solely on the subject of cancer and how the characters deal with it, John Green has nothing on this. I wanted to cry while reading this because everything read so realistically. My brain couldn't read the words fast enough, the way I wanted to eat this book up. 80% impression: wow I didn't even pause to leave a 50% impression. I love the interaction between Ryden and Joni. Overall: would buy in a heartbeat. If you're a fan of John Green or the book 13 Reasons Why, you'll love this book.
Madison-s_Library More than 1 year ago
When I started this book I knew it was going to be devastating. I mean, look at the summary! I liked that it was raw and heartbreaking but was pleased that it was equally hopeful. Ryden's life changed the day his girlfriend told him she was pregnant. And then Meg decided to stop her chemotherapy in order to keep the baby. Now Ryden is struggling to manage feeding times and teething problems, grieving Meg, sorting out child care, starting his senior year of high school and making it to soccer practice on time. When he meets Joni with her tie-dyed overalls and ability to make friends wherever she goes, Ryden gets a taste of light and fun he was desperately missing. But keeping his real life a secret is not easy, especially with his past is set to change everything. Ryden reads like a truly typical teenage boy (I'm assuming, not being a teenage boy myself). He is really struggling with the loss of Meg, but mostly he wishes his life would go back to normal, where he only had to worry about soccer and girls and school and college applications and partying. But losing Meg and gaining Hope has changed all that. At the start he is really just going through the motions with Hope. He is struggling to balance all his commitments and a crying baby is simply another task with which to deal. As he learns more about his own father and Meg's thoughts towards the end of her life, Ryden has to reevaluate what he really wants from his life. I really liked Meg, even though she is already dead at the start of the book. We get to meet her through flashbacks that Ryden replays or through reading sections of her journal. It was hard, at the start, to imagine Ryden with anyone else. About the time Ryden notices Jodi as something more than the crazy girl at work was the time I started to like the possibility of more between them. As the feeling of impending doom builds in this book, you can feel Ryden get closer to breaking point and you know everything is going either fall apart or blow up completely. At this point my views about Meg and Ryden and Joni were all changed. I really felt for Ryden. I spent half of the book unsure if I wanted to shake some sense into him or give him a hug. I certainly wished I could help him out in someway, but he does pretty well on his own, with a little (or lots) of help from his mother, Joni, and Meg's best friend and sister. Ryden is a character that has you cheering for him from the start. This was a novel that was equally challenging and touching. It doesn't sugarcoat the hardships Ryden is facing and the change in the characters over the course of the book was refreshing and hopeful. The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
I really, really liked this book. It started a little slow to begin with, but it didn't me long to really feel something for the characters in this book. The story seems very genuine and is narrated by a 17 year old boy looking at a future in soccer. Then his girlfriend gets pregnant. She also has pretty advanced cancer. Leaving him without his girlfriend with a baby to raise. He's mad at the world with this new situation, but he's determined to do the right thing. Unfortunately what he really wants to do and what he has to do are two totally different things. I love all the emotion put into this book and loved the characters. I'm hoping for a sequel so we can find out how Ryden and Hope end up getting along. This one is a GREAT YA book and I even enjoyed it myself. Warning: you may just tear up a few times. Thanks Sourcebooks and Net Galley for providing me with this free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed it.