What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

20933641Published: August 4th 2015 By: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: Young-Adult, Contemporary, Realistic-Fiction, Teen Parenting

Purchased: Kindle Book My Rating: 3 Stars

Find It: Goodreads | Amazon

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?

MY THOUGHTS <——- Do you see those 2 words? These are my thoughts and personal feelings about this story. Don’t let MY thoughts discourage you from reading this book. There are plenty of people who love it. I’m not one of them, seeing as I thought it was an okay read. As this may be a bit of a spoiler, I can’t see my way around it. I have to point out the situations and why I don’t agree with some things.

What makes this book hard for me to like? The sacrificing of a life for a baby. Don’t get me wrong, I admire people who choose to have kids. Those people, meaning responsible adults. Not a sick, high school girl who has a possible future. Sure, if she didn’t have the baby, there wasn’t a guarantee that she’d live long because of the cancer. But, she left a baby with a single teen boy who had his life ahead of him. Her parents wanted nothing to do with the baby, so it was only him and little Hope and his mom. His scholarship is on the line and he’s struggling. How can a person make such a decision like that? Love? To me, that was selfish. There’s nothing to do now that the baby is here. So the point is moot.

I admire Ryden, sort of. He seemed okay at times, but then he’d start with the regret. Two particular thoughts shocked me. He thought something along the lines of, I don’t want Hope to go away. Then in another thought, I wish Meg had gotten the abortion. That doesn’t make a lick of sense. First, you want Hope, then you say you wish she had been aborted. Which is it? He tried his best to be a great dad, but he longed for his life to go back to the way it was before there was even the possibility of a baby.

Getting to know Meg through her journals wasn’t the highlight of the story. It’s just basically their love story from the first day until she died. There were some sweet moments between them, but I already knew how it would end, so I didn’t really care how much she loved him. All because she wanted a part of herself to be left behind. SELFISH!! But, Lekeisha, how can you be so mean towards a dead girl? Because, I think that it was wrong of her to leave Ryden in that position. He was the father! He had as much a say in her terminating the pregnancy because that was his future and he knew that she was gonna die, just like she knew. Ugh, it took me weeks to get through this book, but I did.

And here comes Joni. So this story redeemed itself for me with her. It’s not your typical high school romance, because of Ryden’s single father status. But I liked the chemistry between him and Joni. She reacted to his situation just like any normal girl would, which made this very realistic. But, this wasn’t enough to make me love this book. I just can’t get over the situation as a whole. I’ll recommend it because everyone takes realistic fiction differently. For me, this is just an okay read that I have no desire to read again. I definitely wouldn’t let my younger cousins read it either. I’m not a fan of teen pregnancy, but it happens, so I may be biased. It’s just not for me guys.


Check out Tika @ Fangirl Confessions 5 star review for this book. She loved it!

14 thoughts on “What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

  1. Wow, it really is a tough situation. I know what it’s like to get mad at characters for stupid decisions. I will still try this one out.


  2. Ehhhhh, this book just seems like it has A LOT going on girl so with the mess of this baby drama, as well as the fact that she dies in the end, I KNOW already this book and I are not going to get along very well… I wish I could but girl, I NEEDS AND CRAVES a happy ending. Well, not exactly HAPPY, but not tragic either. (Yes, I know I have my demands) 😉 But you still love me though. ❤


    • You may actually like this Ke, so give it a shot. It’s not a tragic ending, we already know from the description the girl dies. This is Ry’s story and HEA. I just didn’t like the situation, that’s all.


  3. Aw look at my shout out! lol. I do understand why you have some issues with this book. I think being a parent myself helped to sympathized with Ryden. While I never wished I had an abortion, I used to think that maybe waiting a couple of more years would’ve been more of a smart choice. Girl, when that plot twist came about Meg, I wanted to beat her little ass. How is she just going to do that boy like that! & her parents were so despicable, they needed their asses beat too lol. I did really enjoy his character growth, and Joni was definitely my boo! Sorry you didn’t like this one!


  4. Hmmm… I can sort of understand Ryden’s issue. I had my kid at a very young age and raising a human being is very daunting. There were times where I second guessed the whole thing, myself mostly and whether or not I’m a fit parent. Ryden’s thoughts are harsh, but I can relate where those thoughts are coming from.

    Sorry for the TMI!


  5. This book has been on my kindle for so long. I’m definitely curious about the story, but I agree with you in regards to how people sort of give up on their dreams because of having a child. I mean, yeah they should have been more careful and understand the consequences, but just because you have a baby doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue working to achieve your goals. I think maybe that’s why in one instance he said he didn’t want Hope to go away, but in another said his dead girlfriend should have had an abortion. He was probably thinking how his life was over because of Hope. So I understand your review and can relate with your thoughts. Ryden seems like a complex character, and the story doesn’t come off as too strong based on your review, but I’m still interested in one day picking it up. Thanks for your honesty.


    • It’s definitely a book to read and think about, don’t get me wrong. I just didn’t connect with it. Hopefully, you’ll love it and can see the positives.


  6. I am sorry you couldn’t love this book! I have been thinking about reading it for a bit because I have been interested to know there is a main character who is male and the whole him being a single parent aspect was something I have never seen before. I don’t know where I stand on the idea of her dying for the child to be honest… I think to make a decision on that I would have to read the entire book and think about it long and hard. It’s a difficult decision for anyone to make but I think in the end it has to come down to what I would do for my child… and I am not sure where I stand yet.

    I still want to try this book, if not to make up my mind on the matter than anything else. Thanks for sharing your thoughts ❤


    • You should definitely read it for yourself. I just can’t grasp how this all played out. Everything works out, but why couldn’t there just be Ryden trying to move on with his life after Meg died? There didn’t need to be a baby involved. I guess the more challenges for the characters, the better. It didn’t work for me.

      Liked by 1 person

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