Sunday, August 2, 2015

SST ~ Review of What You Left Behind

Sunday Street Team is organized by Nori @ ReadWriteLove28. SST is a like a cross between a blog tour and street team for a couple different titles each month. As the title suggests, the posts go up on Sundays!

Go here to learn more about SST.

One of the featured authors for August is Jessica Verdi! I recently read her upcoming book (releasing this Tuesday) and I really liked it!☺

Series: standalone
Genre: YA contemporary
Pages: 320
Publication Date: August 4th, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Goodreads Description: 
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? 
Source: I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What You Left Behind was a refreshing YA focusing on family, responsibility, fatherhood, and consideration. I haven't come across many YA books with a teen parent as the main character, and it was nice to read one of a guy dealing with becoming a father at a young age.

The characters were what made the book! Other than Ryden, his mother was my favorite. He had a close, open, and honest relationship with his mother. And sure, there were some rocky moments--that's realistic--but the family focus was a healthy one. The mom was pretty darn awesome. She was supportive, but gave it to her son straight. Then there were the other characters. I absolutely loved Joni! She was a bright, fun, and quirky character. She also had a good influence on Ryden. Meg was a good character, even though she wasn't alive in the present (there were flashbacks). I really liked her journals Ryden read from. They were sad. They fleshed out Meg's character even more. Lastly (of those that I'll mention), I really liked Alan. He was a really loyal friend! He didn't stand out to me as much as the others, but I liked his presence in the book.

As for Ryden, the main character . . . he had great character growth. This guy was selfish--he didn't take other people's feelings and lives into consideration. There were times where he was a complete jerk, but he saw consequences for that. He had quite a few flaws, and it made his character growth even more noticeable because he came a long way. He grew as both a father and a person in general. I was proud of him for learning certain lessons and making certain decisions.

Overall, What You Left Behind is a refreshing contemporary with a pretty great cast of characters. If you're looking for a book with a teen parent main character who deals with grief, life changes, and fatherhood and grows quite a bit, look no further! This one is really easy to get into. It may make you tear up a few times, too.

2015 challenges this book counts towards:
Netgalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge
Dive into Diversity (Joni and Alan were racial minorities.)

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