|What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi|
pub Aug 4 2015 by Sourcebooks
Young Adult - Contemporary
There’s his mother who raised him on his own and I loved their relationship. She’s younger than most moms (think Lorelai!) so she was this perfect mix of fun and knowing exactly when and how to push Ryden when needed. We also spend a lot of time with Meg’s best friend, who I adored. He makes a bunch of pop culture references that go over Ryden’s head but I totally got and chuckled over. Again, he provided much-needed humor and honesty to the story and Ryden’s life. But the other person who ends up playing a significant role is Joni. She’s a girl Ryden meets through work and for the first time in a while, he feels burden-less around her. She doesn’t know his past or any of the people connected to it. She’s fun and quirky without being Ms. Manicpixiedreamgirl and it’s easy to see why he’s drawn to her.
As for the “something else” I mentioned earlier, Ryden finds one of Meg’s old journals and he’s convinced that she must’ve left more for him to read. He becomes obsessed with his need to read her thoughts to help him understand her and how they ended up here. It’s heartbreaking because we get to see the innocent first love that existed between them but also reveals unexpected truths to Ryden at the same time. Through the entire book, my heart just ached for Ryden and his situation which is a testament to how real the author made each and every character feel in this book.
(No) reservationsI can’t think of any! It’s not often that I read books from a male-POV and it’s always a treat when the voice really does sound like that of a teenage guy. Very well-written.
Do I recommend?Obviously the answer is yes! I was pleasantly surprised by this book and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.