3-star · Book Reviews

Book Review: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

★★★/★★★★★
Title: What You Left Behind
Author: Jessica Verdi
PubDate: August 4, 2015

“Why don’t I ever seem to know what the right thing is? I hate you, brain.”

Three Reasons Why I Read This Book
1. The Title — From the moment I saw the cover, I knew someone died (is dying).
2. Ryden Brooks — Being a teenage single father/mother is always a good read.
3. A friend’s review — She gave it 5 stars!

What You Left behind is the story of Ryden Brooks being a teenage dad. What’s worse is, his girlfriend, Meg, had cancer and died right after giving birth to their daughter. Now Ryden is a single father trying to make sense of everything that just happened — why Meg had to die, why Meg left a notebook for him to find and Hope.

What I like most about this book is that it’s so realistic people can easily relate to him. I mean, it’s hard being a teenage single parent and Ryden shows us this by not knowing how to balance his time anymore, grieving for Meg and having a hard time figuring out how to take care of Hope.

Now Ryden has to manage his time between Hope, work, school and more importantly, soccer practice. He’s struggling because Hope seems not to like him at all, always crying when she’s with him, he’s trying to do his duties as a father but seems to be failing (miserably!) school starts in a week and he has to figure out a way on how to work his time for soccer practice, school, work and Hope. Fortunately he has his very supportive mother (I love her, btw!) and friends like Alan and Mabel. Having Hope also affected his social life. His friends tiptoe with regard to Meg and his daughter and Ryden doesn’t seem to know how to talk to them anymore. Then there’s Joni. The single person in Ryden’s life who knows nothing about his past. And Ryden likes it that way.

The notebook Meg left also makes Ryden go crazy. It adds to his frustrations because he knew Meg had left more for him to find. But everywhere he looked, he found nothing. Until he’s stopped looking and everything seems to be going fine again. Until he’s found his resolved by trying to be happy again and moving on with Joni. Until the goddamn notebook finally appears!

“Why does everything have to suck so bad? Even when you think it’s getting better, it’s not. Life’s building up suckiness, getting ready to hit you again, at the worst possible moment.”

While reading this book, there were times I felt like Ryden, stop looking for the damn notebook! and Ryden, tell her about Hope! and What the hell? Meg just died and now you’re kissing her? 

It’s a 3-star for me and don’t ask where the other two went. I don’t know either. I just feel like 3 is all I can give.

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