Happy Cloud Reviews
Me

Hi! My name is
Coley and I am a
26 year old book
lover from Illinois.
Books, next to my
family, are my life!

“What You Left Behind”
by Jessica Verdi

What I thought...

“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?”

(From Goodreads)

“What You Left Behind” Cover

So…this was probably one of the most amazing books I have ever had the opportunity to read. I was blown away and left reeling from this special read. So good.

Young Adult literature that features a single dad is almost unheard of, and this was an amazing representation of that specific sub genre.

Ryden doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s good at soccer and some at school, but he believes he sucks at being a father. Hope only screams when he’s around. He believes she screams is because he doesn’t know how to be a father because he never had one.

Hope’s mother Meg died having her, since she had to stop her cancer treatment when she found out she was pregnant. Ryden blames himself for Meg’s death. If he hadn’t gotten her pregnant, she would still be here.

Ryden’s only escape from his now difficult life is going to work at Whole Foods. Its there that he meets Joni. She’s unlike anyone he’s ever met before. She’s a free spirit and plays by her own rules. She also knows nothing about Ryden’s home life, specifically Hope. She makes him feel normal again, like his old self.

But while he is nursing a budding friendship with Joni, he discovers a journal Meg wrote for him, and is determined there are more out there. With each step, he becomes more and more obsessed with finding these journals.

The friendship between Joni and Ryden was amazing. Nothing was forced, and they didn’t even jump into a relationship until a long while into the story.

Another plus was Ryden’s mom. She was the responsible parent we crave in YA novels. She was also the voice of reason and very understanding.

I enjoyed the story overall. Ryden learning to let Meg go and let Joni see the real him was such a wonderful series of events that my heart was so full by the end.

It was wonderful and you should definitely read this book!

My Rating

4 Clouds Image

4 out of 5

Happy Clouds!