Mini Reviews: What You Left Behind & How to Say I Love You Out Loud

December 7, 2015 | Posted by Genesis in Book Reviews, Multi-Reviews | 9 Comments

Mini Reviews: What You Left Behind & How to Say I Love You Out LoudWhat You Left Behind
by Jessica Verdi
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publication Date: August 4, 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire
Format: eARC
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Book Depository
3 Stars
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Jessica Verdi, the author of My Life After Now and The Summer I Wasn't Me, returns with a heartbreaking and poignant novel of grief and guilt that reads like Nicholas Sparks for teens.

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. 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?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

gen's thoughts cropped

Ryden blames himself for Meg’s pregnancy because she refused treatment once she found out she was carrying a child which lead to her death. Ryden loved to party but when he met Meg, everything changed. Even bigger changes happened when Meg dies and he has to take care of his daughter, which is the last thing he wants to do. Now Ryden is dealing with school, grief, his daughter who apparently doesn’t like him, playing football and getting scholarship to UCLA. His priority and sole focus at the moment is the scholarship.

This is the much more rare “oops, I killed the love of my life by getting her pregnant in high school and ruined my life and the lives of all her family and friends in the process” situation.

At first, it was difficult for me to like Ryden. He had his priorities all screwed up and didn’t really care enough for his daughter, having his mom and his friend take care of her. It took me a while to warm up to him. He finally kind of organized his thoughts and his priorities and ultimately mature. This is a new take on teens with kids. We normally see/read about single girls with a child but what is rarely mentioned is a single dad in his teen years with a child. I think this book showed a lot of aspects that can go in a single teen’s dad life and I’m glad the author portrayed those quite well in this story.

About Jessica Verdi

Jessica Verdi is a young adult author who writes envelope-pushing stories about not-so-pretty real-life issues, but always with a positive spin.
Though she’s always been a bookworm (her childhood was basically defined by the philosophy that working your way through giant stacks of library books is far superior to playing outside), she remained convinced throughout high school and college that the stage—rather than the page—was meant to be her creative outlet. After nearly ten years pounding the NYC pavement auditioning for musicals (and sometimes actually getting cast in them), she got an idea for a novel. That novel was an adult magical realism story, and while it will never see the light of day—nope, don’t ask—it was the book that started her love affair with writing. Now she can’t imagine doing anything else.

Jess received her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School and works as an editor at a romance novel publisher. She loves all animals, from the cute and cuddly to the large and freakish, has been a vegetarian for most of her life, is a little too obsessed with TV shows about vampires, and has an amazing group of writer friends who keep her sane.

Jess lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and dog.

Mini Reviews: What You Left Behind & How to Say I Love You Out LoudHow to Say I Love You Out Loud
by Karole Cozzo
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Publication Date: August 4, 2015 by Swoon Reads
Format: eARC
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
3.5 Stars
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

When Jordyn Michaelson's autistic brother joins her at her elite school, she's determined not to let anyone know they're related. Even if that means closing herself off to all her closest friends, including charming football stud Alex Colby. But despite her best intentions, she just can't shake the memory of kissing Alex last summer, and the desire to do it again.

Can Jordyn find the courage to tell Alex how she really feels--and the truth about her family--before he slips away forever?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

gen's thoughts cropped

Jordyn has an autistic brother whom she has never spoken of at her new school. All is about to change when her brother’s school closes and now he will be attending the same school as Jordyn. The last thing Jordyn wants is for everyone to find out they are related so she never says a thing. I was kind of bothered by the fact that Jordyn didn’t want anyone to know her brother was autistic. I did understand why and all the struggles and difficulties she was going through but it still bothered me. After reading more about her situation, I got more insight into her life and could better understand her.

I loved almost all of the characters, especially Alex. He was an incredible friend to Jordyn and I immediately fell for him and how much of an amazing person he was overall. We have Phillip, Jordyn’s autistic brother and the way he was portrayed was spot on. The author really showed how it is for autistic is and how frustrated they get when someone doesn’t understand them. At times, it was very emotional because you could really feel for Phillip. It is sad to say that the way people reacted to Phillip in the story is how we react to seeing an autistic person and I’m glad the author didn’t downplay this at all.

“[…] I’m going to work on loving you out loud.. I’m going to work on living out loud.”

This is a really strong and eye-opening story. Jordyn gave a speech at the end that opened my eyes even more to autism and it is a great message for kids, teens and adults to read.

About Karole Cozzo

Karole lives outside of Philadelphia, PA with her loving husband, exuberant little girl, and smiley little boy. She adores YA Romance, because it would be awesome if life in general had a requisite feel-good happy ending rule. Vices include obscene Haribo gummy consumption, addiction to Starbucks NF vanilla lattes, and tendency to hoard Bath and Body Works 3-wick candles.

Genesis
Follow me <3

Genesis

Book Blogger at Latte Nights Reviews
Genesis is a 22-year-old girl who lives in Puerto Rico, an island in the Caribbean. She's obsessed with Instagram (@lattenightsbooks) and coffee shops. When she's not reading or on social media, she can be found eating, at the beach, being with her boyfriend and/or hanging out with friends.
Follow me <3
  • I really liked What You Left Behind. I agree Ryden was all over the place in the beginning but I thought it was believable. I was glad how it all turned out. I really want to read How To Say I Love You Out Loud. I kind of forgot about but will bump it up now. Great reviews!!

    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog recently posted: Review ~ Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
    • He really was but it was believable. I really recommend HTSILYOL. It’s really really good 🙂

  • wait, what treatment didn’t she get that she died? I must have missed something in the blurb
    anyway, I don’t know about that one, kind of on the fence, thought I know some absolutely loved it, I am not sure if I would like Ryden.

    • Oh it was the chemotherapy. Ryden’s life was normal but I just had issues with him, doesn’t mean you will 🙂

  • I want to read both of these, but mostly What You Left Behind. I’m sure it was a tough situation for Ryden, so I’m curious about how the author handles it.

    Christy LoveOfBooks recently posted: Succubus Heat & Succubus Shadows by Richelle Mead
    • You would probably like it since it was how many would react. I just didn’t really like Ryden especially how he would think of his daughter.

  • I LOVEDDDDD What You Left Behind! I felt him being all over the place in the beginning was really realistic, especially since I can sympathize with him a bit. I didn’t have my son in HS or anything, and I definitely didn’t hand him off to my mom or friends, but I definitely understood the struggle he had to connect with his child and to put her first. I heard HTSILYOL was a surprisingly great story, I’ll have to pick that one up soon!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 HTSILYOL is a really great story. I recommend it 🙂

  • Ryden definitely annoyed me in the beginning, and I liked Meg but as the story went on it became so switched. This had to have been one of those that had the “What just happened” moments. Which are the best thing ever.

    Jenna @ Jinkies Books recently posted: Top 10 New-to-me Authors