Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Official Blog Tour - What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi (Review)

Author: Jessica Verdi (Website, Twitter, Facebook)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pre-order / Buy online: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

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?

About 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.

**The ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
(Actual) Rating: 3 of 5 stars

What You Left Behind shares the life of Ryden Brooks as he finds himself balancing life and as time is divided between his aspiration of playing soccer for college and becoming a good father by taking care of Hope. Hope is his and Meg's daughter. Ryden was not prepared for the consequences that comes upon his way when Meg lost her battle with cancer leaving him with Hope to remind him of her.

There's one particular lesson that I've picked up after reading What You Left Behind. When you truly learn to accept and love someone, it'll be the time that whatever you choose to do will have an impact on your partner or family. Also, they will pretty much be in it with you throughout the situation. In Ryden Brook's case, it was difficult for him as he was still blaming himself for everything that happened between him and Meg. Furthermore, he still griefs the passing of Meg that makes him pressured and makes his mind troubled whenever it comes to Hope.

What I admire about the book is that Ryden is continuing his life as if everything might be just a dream. His thoughts are really engaging and humorous to say. The perspective he has is mostly would be on the logic side more than the emotional side. To tell the truth, the book was a roller coaster ride because of the different events that are about to unfold as you let the pages guide you to the undiscovered missing puzzle pieces to form the whole big picture of the story. I'm just impressed with the protagonist as he's really keen on learning many things towards the life he will have and he plans his future not just for himself but together with Hope and his extended family is truly inspiring!

There are still some areas that needs improvement. I would highlight how the protagonist was truly annoying complaints and intense pain about the baby made the book irrelevant. He should be more responsible and mature enough to know that such a consequence was possible in the first place when he and Meg made such decision in their life. Turns out he was pretty much unrealistic dad especially now in modern society, I'm not sure I agree that a teenage guy would actually consider a baby at 17 years old. At least in my own perspective, that is.

In a nutshell, readers will appreciate the valuable learning points in What You Left Behind although I might not agree on some points that the book was trying to convey, I'm fairly sure that anyone will still find the book to be worth reading at your own pace and time, can be enjoyed for a good read this week or the next!

Special thanks to the author and Michelle from Sourcebooks Fire for allowing me to join the official blog tour and providing advance review copy for me to read and review 'What You Left Behind'!

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