What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi (review by Anya W. ’20)

What You Left BehindWhat You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ryden Brooks has a thousand problems. Soccer. Getting a UCLA scholarship. His not technically *together* relationship with his coworker at Whole Foods. His deteriorating relationships with his friends. The fact that his mom is dating again. Getting over his dead girlfriend, who he might as well have killed and finding the notebooks that he is absolutely certain she left him–even if no one else believes him. Making sure his six-month-old daughter, Hope, is being taking care of.

What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi is good. It remains truthful. While often selfish and prone to questionable decisions, Ryden felt real. Authors often have a difficult time creating teen characters without making them far too immature, or irredeemable. He was just a kid who wanted a life, but life is forcing him to make adult decisions early, and sometimes, he has difficulty handling it. I would have liked a bit more depth to Jessica Verdi’s other characters, especially Ryden’s mother, Alan, and Joni. I love the way she wrote. –Anya W. ‘20

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