SST 3 – Review: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

What You Left Behindby Jessica Verdi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**I received a copy of this book on a read to review basis. Thanks to Nori from the Sunday street team and the publishers.**

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a completely different experience for me as I don’t think I’ve read a book with a single teen dad taking care of his baby. Usually, I’ve read books with moms left by their boyfriends and how they cope/struggle to care for the baby.

I think what I liked most about this book was just reading it from the perspective of the dad. I enjoyed reading all of Ryden’s struggles with the baby and how he coped. Seeing how he was affected by Meg’s death and how he struggled because he missed her and wished she could help him with the baby.

I also really liked the family aspect of the book. Seeing the relationship between Ryden and his mom was amazing. I liked how the mom was always there and supported/guided Ryden when he felt like a failure. While the mom could be funny at times, I liked how she was serious and helped put things in perspective for Ryden. At the same time, I liked how she was never rude or condescending about the fact he had a baby.

Overall, I really enjoyed What You Left Behind and would definitely read it again to reread all the funny moments and because I just really liked Ryden’s voice. I would highly recommend this to anyone because it deals with some serious issues–cancer, grieving, parenthood–that were well-written and made Ryden as a character easier to connect with. Lastly, if you know of any other books dealing with parenthood from the guy’s perspective, shoot them my way!!


Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Publication date: June 4, 2015

Number of pages: 385

Synopsis: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Being a big fan of some of Sophie Kinsella’s other works, I was really excited to see her take not only on YA, but also on mental illness. I thought she dealt with the subject of mental illness in a new and refreshing way. As for her first YA novel, I thought it was really well-written and developed.

While the book focused on Audrey and her anxiety/depression, I really enjoyed the light-hearted and humorous tone Kinsella used throughout. I was pleased that the tone didn’t–at least for me–take away from the serious nature of the topics. I felt that the writing style let me connect and understand Audrey and her family life without taking away from the fact that Audrey was dealing with anxiety and depression. Even though there was humor throughout most of the book, there were serious bits that mixed in wih the humor, really brought to light Audrey’s struggles.

I also really enjoyed the family focus of the novel. I always like seeing families present in all books, but YA especially, and I liked how each character had his/her own personality. I really enjoyed seeing all of the families quirks and seeing how each character grew. Plus, wasn’t Felix just the cutest?

Lastly, I can’t express how much I liked the writing style! I thought that having portions of the book written as though from a camera view was genius! I’d love to see more of this in books so if you have any suggestions, throw them out.

Overall, I really enjoyed Finding Audrey and thought it dealt with serious issues in a light-hearted way that didn’t take away from the severity. I thought it was a great YA debut for Kinsella and would definitely read more of her YA stuff if she writes more.

Review: Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham

Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham
Publication date: January 1, 2015

Number of pages: 304

Synopsis: Chloe needs a holiday. She’s sick of making wedding dresses, her partner Philip has troubles at work, the whole family wants a break. Her wealthy friend Gerard has offered the loan of his luxury villa in Spain – perfect.

Hugh is not a happy man. His immaculate wife Amanda seems more interested in her new kitchen than in him, and he works so hard to pay for it, he barely has time for his children. Maybe he’ll have a chance to bond with them on holiday. His old friend Gerard has lent them a luxury villa in Spain – perfect.

Both families arrive at the villa and realise the awful truth – Gerard has double-booked. What no-one else realises is that Chloe and Hugh have a history, and as tensions rise within the two families, old passions resurface. It seems that Gerard’s ‘accidental’ double booking may not be an accident after all…

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When I picked up this book, I was expecting a fun, light read. Sadly, I got a very confusing book with characters and a story I couldn’t connect with. Well, at the end, I thought I was understanding the characters, but turns out I couldn’t.

I really didn’t like the main characters or way of writing/narration. At times it seemed as though the author was trying too hard to make things funny/serious/whatever. Sure, there were definitely some funny moments, but not enough to keep me interested. Also, some of the turns the book took were completely out of left field. (That’s the expression, right?)

Anyway, I did really like the incorporation of two very different families. Having them run into, and then share a house was interesting as it showed the complete differences in families and made the situation more comical.

Overall, I really did not like Sleeping Arrangements as the characters and story were totally confusing. That said, I would recommend it to people who like a family-centered, light comeedic read.