WHAT YOU LEFT BEHIND Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway!

What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi
Pub Date: August 4th, 2015
Source: Netgalley (ARC)

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?

I am so excited to be a part of the official blog tour for WHAT YOU LEFT BEHIND. Today, pub day, I'll be reviewing & on Thursday I'll be bringing you an excerpt of chapter one courtesy of Sourcebooks.

The Review:

How do I begin? Let me just start by saying that I went on this book with no expectations. I've never read anything by Jessica Verdi before, but I heard buzz about this book, and the premise was just so different. A single teenage dad? That's pretty much unheard of in YA. Going into this, I thought, okay this is either going to be totally incredible or completely wrong. 

Spoiler alert, it was totally incredible. WHAT YOU LEFT BEHIND blew me away.

First of all, Ryden. Jessica Verdi has mastered the male POV. His voice and characterization was spot on the entire, I wanted to cry tears of joy. I really felt everything along with Ryden, a boy who has been thrown head first into fatherhood and is so unprepared for it. More than that, he's so upfront and honest about having "no fucking clue" what he's doing. Watching him stumble and fall and learn how to take care of his daughter gave me all of the good feels. Especially considering that the girl he loved died six months ago. I could feel that pain and grief. Also, I loved the solid relationship between Ryden and his mom. He depended on her and she let him lean on her, but always made it clear that Hope was his responsibility, and he totally respected her for that. I loved watching the moments between Ryden and Hope develop, how proud he was of himself when he did something that made her happy. How many times did I say I love Ryden in this paragraph? Probably too many. Moving on...

Meg was so present throughout the novel. Even though she was dead, I felt like I knew her, and I knew that the love between her and Ryden was real. I liked the journal entries, because they were small moments into her head. Not only did it help me understand her, it helped me to understand how Ryden felt about her.

And then there was Joni. Joni is my spirit animal. Her favorite place in the world is Washington Square Park. She made her bedroom look like Washington Square Park. AND she got an elephant tattoo because elephants are beautiful. WSP is one of my favorite places in the world and elephants are my favorite animal. Beyond that, I loved how bold Joni was and her relationship with Ryden was slow and sweet. Jessica Verdi made scenes at Whole Foods fun to read because of Joni & Ryden's developing friendship. It was really great. 

Also, Jessica Verdi gets a shoutout for the diversity that is represented in this book. There's a lot of talk today in YA about the necessity for diverse books, and WHAT YOU LEFT BEHIND represents minorities, and represents them well

Basically I think this book is awesome. I wish I could write a more critical eloquent review but I can't.  


You know you want to read WHAT YOU LEFT BEHIND. So enter to win one of three signed copies, courtesy of Sourcebooks!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

In the meantime, check back on Thursday for an excerpt from the first chapter!