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What You Left Behind

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  2,900 ratings  ·  502 reviews
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 o
Hardcover, 358 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Sourcebooks
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  2,900 ratings  ·  502 reviews

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Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
This book is about a cancer-stricken teenaged girl who died sacrificing her life for her unborn baby and a teenaged single father, and it's probably the best form of birth control in a book that I've ever read.

Which isn't to say it's good. It's not. There's nothing wrong with the writing. There's nothing wrong with the story. This is just my personal opinion, and call me heartless if you will ("she's calling a girl who died of cancer stupid! Omg! Burn her, burn her!"), but this book is about te
Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always
Ladies and gents, I am speechless. What You Left Behind was so good that it knocked the socks off everyone within a 5-meter radius of it. I'm pretty sure my pet unicorn lost his socks, too.

I'm not sure if my review will justify how awesome this book was, but let me give it a shot. *deep breath*

First off, we have one of the most realistic male narrators I've ever come across. Goodbye, annoying heroes who think about sex for 3/4 of the book! Sayonara, guys who insert a curse word in every sentence
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ by: Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always

Actual rating: 2.5 stars

"Why don’t I ever seem to know what the right thing is? I hate you, brain."

Warning : It's been really, really difficult for me to gather my thoughts about this book and I put a lot of me in this review, because I needed this personal insight to express what worked and didn't work for me in Ryden's story. Please feel free to disagree with my opinions.

What You Left Behind was such a realistic, infuriating and heartbreaking young-adult story - I loved what I think t
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

This review is brought to you by . . .

Houston commercial photography

I read this one over a month ago, but it’s taken that long to remove my eyeballs from where they rolled in the back of my head so I’m just now getting around to a review.


Okay, so here’s me during my lunch hour whilst reading What You Left Behind . . .

Houston commercial photography

Good sammich, turrrrrrrrrible book.

This is the story of Ryden, a senior in high school who is left to raise his
Faye, la Patata

No, seriously, guys. 

Pre-order this. Right now. Oh, no, you don't - don't give me that wary glance. I'm not telling you this just because I want you to drain your hard-earned money, because I care where your hard-earned money should be spent --- on worthwhile books.

And guys, it can't get any more worthwhile than What You Left Behind by Jessica-fucking-fantastic-Verdi.

I mean, when do you usually read about a contemporary novel about a seventeen-year-old male teenager who suddenly found himself a
Elyse  Walters
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Young Adult Best Book Club Choice* .... Of the year! in my humble opinion!

Hate it or love it... or somewhere in the middle, Jessica Verdi packs in big issues worth looking at...
Teenage Pregnancy
Teenage cancer
Teenage cancer with pregnancy
To abort or not to abort
Birth control .... The truth that nobody is talking about
Lies .....The lies that nobody is talking about
Under age parenting
Single -underage dad
Parents and grandparents... What's their responsibility -- their role?
......and how might gr
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Fire and NetGalley.)

“Well, guess what you left behind, Meg? Nothing but misery and pain and regret.”

This was a good YA contemporary story about cancer, and being a teen parent, which also had an interesting mystery aspect.

I felt quite sorry for Ryden in this story, he’d lost so much, and was pretty shell-shocked at the way he had become a single teen parent, and the changes to his life t
Aly (In Wonderland)
Check out the full review on 100% Rock Magazine!

Lately, I've had this idea that I can't seem to shake.
What if I'm missing some crucial dad gene because I never had a dad of my own? What if I'm literally incapable of being a father to this baby because I have zero concept of what a father really

It's all Ryden's fault. If only he'd stayed away from Meg in the first place, she wouldn't have ended up pregnant and she wouldn't have stopped her chemotherapy sessions in order to keep t
Beatrice Masaluñga
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Beatrice by: Jasmine (Jasmine Pearl Reads)
Shelves: young-adult, arc
Thank you Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

What You Left Behind is an emotionally driven and realistic story. This is my first book by Jessica Verdi and her writing style is captivating and beautiful. The story tells about a single teenage parent, Ryden Brooks. He held a huge responsibility of being a parent and raising a child at a young age. His girlfriend, Meg Reynolds, passed away because of cancer. Instead of receiving treatments, she choo
Dec 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
I am just.....really appalled. Like. Truly. I had high hopes for this book, because it truly did stand out due to the plot and the fact that the protagonist is male, but BOY was I disappointed. I think the biggest let down was the writing. It was basic, to say the least. Verdi's style lacked any flair. There was no creativity, and it certainly didn't spark much of my imagination. I understand it's "harder" for a female writer to write in the mind frame of a male, but that doesn't mean you should ...more
I found the Holy Grail of romance books!
praise photo: praise4-thisisquality_zps3c7002dc.gif
Yep, you read correctly. Guys I found a book where the girl actually has a spine. Where - when she's treated badly - she tells the guy how disappointed she is in him, and how she can't be used and abused by him. And she walks away.

And no, no, don't shoot me yet. That wasn't a spoiler! A lot happens in this book - deep and insightful stuff, plus some weird and wacky things along the way. But I just wanted to mention how much I love, love, love, love Jon
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

This book was just angst, with a side order of even more angst. I mean, that was not a surprise, at all, but there weren't many happy, fluffy moments. However, What You Left Behind was still an enjoyable read, if 'enjoyable' is the right word to be using about a cancer book.

Ryden was a really great narrator for this story. He was far from perfect, and didn't hide that fact. Let's be honest, wha
Stephanie (Bookfever)
What You Left Behind is an excellent example of a well-written and very realistic young adult book in a guy's perspective. I definitely want to read more books like this.

This book revolves around Ryden. Six months ago his girlfriend, Meg, died giving birth to their daughter, Hope, because she refused another round of chemo therapy.

So obviously this book deals with some tough subjects. Usually I'm kinda on the fence about these type of books but I really liked this one. Most books featuring teen
Lisa (lifeinlit)
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have this weakness when it comes to stories involving teen pregnancy and/or teen parents. I’m not sure what it is, since I was never a teen parent myself, but I’m very drawn to them. When I saw this description, I knew this was a book I had to read. A teenage single father? AND written by Jessica Verdi?! YES!!

Ryden is a hot mess. His girlfriend, Meg, recently died, leaving him to raise their daughter alone. With the help of his mother, Ryden is a single father just trying to make sense of life
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
If you're a big reader of YA books then you've probably noticed that there are a lot of books about cancer doing the rounds. There have been plenty of books about teenage pregnancy too. This book covers both of these topics but guess what? It is different. Jessica Verdi takes two overused topics and puts a fresh spin on them and creates an emotional, heart-wrenching story of death, fatherhood and learning to cope with the drastic curveballs life can throw you.

When Meg finds out she is pregnant s
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, read-in-2015
What a refreshing change! This book is a win for me because of two main things:

1- a 17 year old MALE main character - There aren't many of those
2- a very supportive and stable parent - Most YAs have the stereotypical selfish/uninterested parent(s)

We start the book with Ryden, a 17 year old single parent, whose girlfriend died and left with a child. He is unprepared for the changes that occur in his life, beginning with having to take the responsibility for this child. He has a supportive mother
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The best thing about Jessica Verdi is that every single one of her books revolves around a totally instabuy premise I haven't seen before in YA, and then she executes the hell out of them. too. I loved this book and all its realness, and alllllll the messiness, and the way Ryden's character arc was handled...basically just everything. ...more
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: YA contemporary fans looking for something fresh, organic, unapologetic, and real
Recommended to Kels by: Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always
This book is the REAL deal. The writing was spectacular, the plot and storyline had so much depth from page 1, the characters (especially the MC) were all organic, mult-dimensional and well-written, and this was one of the most believable YA contemporary novels I've read in such a long time... *sighs* what more could a reader ask for??

Oh, the feels are at an all time high!

Let me first say, that this book hooked me from page one, on the very first sentence:

"If there's a more brain-piercing soun
Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it
2.5 stars

Man, it kills me that I didn't love this book. :( I adore Jessica and her other books, so this literally breaks my heart!

The biggest thing that kills it for me is what we find out at the end...

(view spoiler)
I absolutely luuurrrvveddd this book. It's so realistic and awesome. Definitely recommended.

*Review to come*

You can also find this review here: https://booksaremychildrenblog.wordpr...

What You Left Behind is a great realistic fiction novel, it center around Ryden who is left to raise his daughter after his girlfriend Meg dies of cancer. What immediately got my attention with this book is the synopsis, it centers around a teenage boy with a baby usually books like this center around teenage girl
Annie Brewer
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really, really enjoyed this!!!

*review to come*
Cassandra (Thebookishcrypt)
Ever since I bought this book last year, I've been obsessed with it. I've thought about it at LEAST twice a day since then. I've tried my hardest to not touch it because I knew, I KNEW, it was going to destroy me ever since I read the synopsis at Barnes & Noble. It was a constant elephant in my room and I could only avoid it for so long. Since I'm here writing this review, it means that I lost the battle of wills and have gone through the war of feels...
End note: I was as destroyed as I predict
Jasmine (Jasmine Pearl Reads)
Book: What You Left Behind
Author: Jessica Verdi
Finished Reading: April 17, 2015 (Friday)

Book Review:

*First of all, I would like to thank Sourcebooks Fire for the review copy in exchange for an honest review* Thank you so so much!!!
Ohmygosh! This book will be on the best-seller list in August. I swear!!! This was my first book by Jessica Verdi and I didn’t regret reading this!

The synopsis really caught my attention when I was reading it on Goodreads (you should check it out!). The narrator of th
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this one. It was a very realistic novel about very real issues told from an interesting perspective. I would definitely recommend this. Full review on my blog ...more
Nikki S
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
7/11/14: I said earlier this year that there were no books about a guy that had to raise a child on his own and lo and behold Verdi was already in the process of writing one! I am extremely excited to see how she portrays this critical topic! Thank you Verdi for uniqueness in YA!!!!!

EDIT 7/22/2015:

One day, way, way back in the day before I even knew about this freaking book, I was on Twitter and there was a trending topic going on about what we w
Kim at Divergent Gryffindor
I went into What You Left Behind with huge expectations. I know I shouldn't have done that, but come on! The main character is a single dad, which is something that I've been waiting for, and I'm guessing a lot of other people have been as well.

The book started out with what I felt was an unnatural and tense tone, but got better a while later. I'm not sure if it really became better or I just got used to that tone, but it flowed more and more smoothly as the story went on. I was a bit disappoin
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

This review was originally published on Book Blog Bird

What You Left Behind is the story of Ryden, a seventeen year old high school senior whose girlfriend has just died, leaving him the single parent of their baby daughter. Before this, Ryden had dreams of playing football (soccer-football, that is) for UCLA. Now, he’s changing nappies and learning about weaning. As Ryden desperately tries to reconcile fatherhood, schoolwork, football practise and work, he meets Joni, a girl who manages
C. Maria
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I just loved this story. It's just amazing.

Jessica Verdi wrote such wonderful amazing characters. Even if the story for me was predictable I still loved it and wouldn't change anything (maybe just an extra chapter to know what Ry did with college, Hope and Jodi - like in 2-3 years. That will have been a good addition.)

I liked Ry character, he was strong and with all that was going on he did an amazing job even if he didn't realized it yet. He was so grown-up and did so much for Hope. (if I was
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Read Full Review Over At fANGIRLconfessions

All My Single Daddies, All My Single Daddies.

What You Left Behind was one of those books I KNEW I was going to adore. It was a completely different dynamic from what I'm used to reading, and I whole-heartedly appreciate Verdi for cracking open a new shell in YA. By switching up the gender roles, she allowed us readers to experience a refreshing and incredibly accurate depiction on a very common situation in today's society.

Ryden Brooks is hands down my
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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 dogs. Visit her at and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @jessverdi.

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