RELEASE DATE: August 4, 2015
AUTHOR: Jessica Verdi
GENRE: Young-Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance.
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Fire
SUMMARY: 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?
First of all, I must appreciate Jessica Verdi for writing such a wonderful story which seemed very realistic and emotional. Normally, I don’t read books with male leads but after hearing so many praises about this book has piqued my interest and trust me it was really good. This book perfectly portrayed a single teen father’s anguish and all the hard struggles he faces in his life while being a single parent to his new born child. It was totally a refreshing YA read that moved me and I’m so glad that I’ve read this book.
17 year old Ryden Brooks is a star soccer player in his high school who’s life becomes upside down after his girlfriend Meg becomes pregnant with his child. His life takes a worst turn when Meg dies giving birth to his daughter Hope and making him a single parent. He feels responsible for Meg’s death who was diagnosed with cancer because if it wasn’t for him she would still be alive. Months have been passed since the death of Meg but the feelings of guilt still eating away inside him. Life has become hard for him while being a single parent for his daughter because not only he has to do his part-time job and complete his senior year but he also needs to earn a soccer scholarship to go to college. In his job, Ryden meets a new girl named Joni who makes him forget about all his troubles and be himself but he was afraid that she would hate him if she knows everything about him. So, he hides the fact that he has a baby and hang outs with her more often. Things take a mysterious turn when Meg’s sister Mabel comes up with Meg’s Journal and it looks like Meg has left more Journals for him to find. Ryden becomes obsessed with finding the remaining journals because he feels that finding them would give him all the answers he was looking for and they might be the only thing that can make him let go of the past and move on.
Ryden is really a wonderful character and I can pretty much say that I’ve never come across a male character like him. He was very realistic and I really felt sad for him because I could feel all the angst and frustrations he was going through. Being a teen parent is quite difficult but I just wish he spent more time with his daughter. Meg is a great character and even though she wasn’t physically present in the book, we can get a clear picture of her through her journals and Ryden’s memories. Joni is a fun and cool character who always has this happy go lucky personality and very friendly towards everyone. I really liked the relationship between Ryden and Joni. The chemistry between them is sweet, cute and sometimes hot. As for the supporting characters, I liked Ryden’s mom the most because she was always there for him and supports him. Alan and Mabel are also nice additions to the plot which made the whole story perfect.
The plot was well written and so emotional. It was perfectly executed and the mystery behind the meg’s journals has made the story more mysterious and engaging. The pacing was perfect, it was neither slow nor fast. I loved the writing, it was quite realistic which made the whole story come to life. The book was written in Ryden’s POV and being in his head has made me undergo so many emotions. All the characters are well built and I really liked the character development of Ryden at the end which made a perfect conclusion to the story.
Overall, it was incredible and heart touching. It was a book that deals with love, family, friendship and forgiveness. This book was very unique and refreshing take on YA contemporary. Would I recommend it? Definitely yes, it was a thoughtful story and must be read by everyone.
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