Sunday Street Team: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi (Review and Giveaway)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Welcome to the Sunday Street Team hosted by ReadWriteLove28! This is basically a blog tour like thing excited, all the post dates are posted on Sunday. Today I have a very exciting to book to review, What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi. Hope you guys enjoy the review and make sure to check this book out. :)

---

What You Left Behind

Author: Jessica Verdi
Pages: 320
Published by: Sourcebooks
Published on: August 4th 2015
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?

---

Based on the synopsis of this book, you can already tell it's going to be pretty interesting. It's not everyday where you can read about a teenage father who has to actually take care of his child. That is what really got me into this story. I have to say, I was not disappointed. I really enjoyed reading about Ryden and his baby, more about Meg, and basically his life after Meg dies. I thought this book was very unique, emotional, and fun as well. If you're a contemporary lover or anyone, definitely check this book out. 

This book takes place after Hope, Ryden and Meg's daughter, is born and what his life looks like now that school is starting soon. He faces challenges every parent faces: figuring out the baby sitting situation, lack of sleep, and more. It was really great to read about a teenage guy being the single parent because a lot of the times, it is indeed the teenage mother with the father supporting with some type of payment; that's what I really love about this book and what got me to read it. Meg is gone and Ryden's family didn't have a lot of money so that all contributed to Ryden's challenges raising his daughter. We get to meet new people, learn more about Meg's past, and just read about Ryden taking on being a father.

Based on the synopsis, you could tell there was going to be a lot of character development within Ryden. In the beginning of the book he is confused, had his future all planned out, and really thinks he can make this baby business work. Then we get to see all stuff happen to him: school starts, things change, he's trying to keep up with soccer, and then he meets Joni. I really liked Joni. She is carefree, easy to be around, and a very interesting person. Joni really was able to let Ryden be in high school again and he was able to have a great time with her and just forget about all his troubles for just a little while. By the end of the book, Ryden understood what parenting was like and due to all the changes that had happened within the book, life is easier on him. He is over Meg's death and has moved on. I really loved the character development he goes through and it was so great to read about that. 

As for the plot, I really really enjoyed that. It kept building and building up until the climax where it just blew your mind. There were so many uncovered secrets and lies that we had yet to find out and that all added up to the big part of the book and for a contemporary, it's always hard to make the climax a huge event. Jessica did a great job with that because the climax left me sitting there thinking about what the heck just happened. It was great and I really loved reading about that. Since there were so many things going on in this book at one time, a good ending that tied up all the loose ends was really important and Jessica really tied the book up in such a nice way. 

I was excited to see what Meg's journals would tell us about her and I am really glad that they were included. There was a whole other story before the book and the journals really felt like a flashback to when Meg was alive. We got to read about how they met, what Meg's personality was like, and just know more about her. These journals really affected the plot and I am glad Jessica included them into the story.

I gave this book 5 stars because I loved everything about it.

*Spoilers Ahead*
Meg's journals were so weird to read about. They were so lovey and romantic then we take a turn and boom! We find out she left Ryden with a child on purpose. Well it's that fun-oh! You're not joking!? Like who the hell does that? I get she wanted to leave a legacy but like Ryden said, why didn't she just plan a tree or something? You left a child with a teenager who had a great future ahead of him and had financial struggles. Like Meg's parents didn't give a shit about Hope so yeah Meg definitely left the legacy of "best girlfriend ever." Huh, at least she told Ryden about all this. It definitely would have been messed up if she told him over a piece of paper after she died....oh, that's what she did. Ugh, so over this! So glad Ryden got over Meg.

I loooved this ending. It's so sweet how Ryden brought Joni over to Washington Square Park and it really shows that Ryden has moved on from Meg. Ahhh so sweet and gah so romantic. When the book ends though, Ryden's life is a bit more easier. I mean I hope does go back to playing soccer but UCLA really made this life hard. Yeah it was a great future and I wish I could have gotten in but let's be real here. If he wanted to go to UCLA and take care of Hope, he would have to be the most stressed person ever and not good for him.

--- 


Jessica Verdi


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.

---