Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 2706
what she left behind
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
What She Left Behind brings a whole new meaning to “disappearing parent syndrome”!

Did I just make that joke? Really? Wow, I’m awful. Sorry!

(But isn’t it funny!?)

This review is brought to you by Renae, possessor of a bad sense of humor.

I think it says something about the state of YA fiction (and YA readers), that in a book that deals with a topic as hard-hitting and uncomfortable as domestic abuse, my favorite part about What She Left Behind was the romance. What exactly does it say? Probably nothing good, but I’m mostly okay with that.

See, I don’t like bossy, bastardly alpha males; I tolerate them, but I’d just as soon not read about them. I like guys who are caring, who are actually nice to the female protagonist, who don’t toy with her or come across as creepy/rude/abusive/controlling/etc. Maybe they have a dark, tortured past, maybe they don’t. But dammit, I like the nice guys!

Sara’s love interest, Alex, was a nice guy. And he’s going on my (newly invented) list of book boyfriends. So there.

But see, that goes back to what I said before: Sara is dealing with her mother’s probable death at the hands of her father. Why in heck to I care about who she is or is not kissing? I shouldn’t, that’s for sure. I should be much more invested in getting Sara’s dad sent to jail, not plotting happily-ever-afters between the lines.

I have no clue why this happens in YA books. Don’t care, though—I end up with a lot of paper-and-ink boyfriends.

Anyway, that was a rant, also brought to you by Renae, notorious lover of nice guys.

Now to the real review.

Tracy Bilen did an excellent job with What She Left Behind. Sara’s situation was very emotional and believable. It was only too easy to see that Sara’s dad, after his son’s suicide, went a little crazy, and that this craziness only exacerbated his already abusive tendencies. And boy was Sara’s dad off his rocker. By the time you get to the end of this book, you’ll be thinking “oh my word, how much worse can this guy get?” and then he’ll manage to surprise you.

Given her circumstances, and her dad’s personality, I liked Sara. I didn’t get a huge connection with her, but she was a really interesting, unique character. I might have wanted a little more depth to her personality, but since she spent most of the book wandering around town trying not to panic because she had no idea where her mom was, I can definitely cut her some slack.

That is one interesting things about What She Left Behind—there’s a lot of waiting around. I think this book covers about a week’s worth of time, and really, not a lot happens. Sara thinks her dad killed her mom, and Alex starts to take notice of Sara, and he follows her around trying to help. That’s, honestly, the entire plot of this book, up until the last fifty pages.
(And when you look at it like that, I guess it’s a little understandable why I went all swoony-swoon over the romance. Did I mention Alex was a football star and Sara was in the marching band—geek/jock pairing!!!)

Either way, the content of What She Left Behind is pretty hard-hitting, and the resolution was empowering and satisfying. My realistic fiction craving was definitely satisfied with this book, and there was the added bonus of a cute teen relationship on top.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 1

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Elysium Girls
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
From a lush, dazzlingly original new voice in young adult...
The Lost Legends
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
A plague. A prophecy. A centuries-long curse. All her...
In the Hall with the Knife
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A murderer could be around every corner in this...
Girls With Razor Hearts
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Make me a girl with a razor heart… It’s...
Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children #5)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The fifth installment in Seanan McGuire's award-winning, bestselling Wayward...
When Wishes Bleed
 
4.8
 
0.0 (0)
One Prince. One Witch. One Fate. The upheaval in...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ali McMillian almost drowned. It wasn’t a run-of-the-mill accident either;...
Ember Queen (Ash Princess, #3)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
The thrilling conclusion to the New York Times bestselling...
Moonscript
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
"It is said that Darkness is empty and whatever vanishes...
The Lucky Ones
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, This Is How It...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl...
Meet Me at Midnight
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
They have a love-hate relationship with summer. ...
Sword in the Stars (Once & Future, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this epic sequel to Once & Future, to save...
11004295_10203571569113600_1962266189_n.jpg
 
3.8 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
*****Best YA Book & Author of the Year***** The...
We Unleash the Merciless Storm
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Being a part of the resistance group La Voz...
The Everything I Have Lost
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
12-year-old Julia keeps a diary about her life growing...

Latest Member Reviews

I Love You, Daddy (Peter Rabbit)
 
4.0
"I LOVE YOU, DADDY is a sweet book for fathers to share with their young readers. Featuring springy pastels, Peter..."
I, Cosmo
 
4.0
"Cosmo is the "big brother" of Max and his young sister Emmaline, and is now 13 years old. He still..."
Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation (Charlie Thorne #1)
 
5.0
"Charlie is a twelve year old intellectual prodigy who has uncaring, manipulative parents whom she has escaped by enrolling in..."
Otter: What Pet Is Best?
 
5.0
"'Otter: What Pet Is Best?' by Sam Garton introduces Otter to a variety of pets that he might want, but..."
I Want to Be a Pilot
 
5.0
"'I Want to Be a Pilot' by Laura Driscoll, pictures by Catalina Echeverri, takes readers on a journey through an..."
All Aboard! The Airport Train
 
4.5
"'All Aboard! The Airport Train' by Nichole Mara, illustrated by Andrew Kolb, is a neat, lift-the-flap book that turns into..."
Diggersaurs Explore (Diggersaurs)
 
5.0
"DIGGERSAURS EXPLORE is a delightful sequel to the book taking the toddler world by storm! Whether you have a little..."
Diggersaurs
 
5.0
"DIGGERSAURS is perfect for children who love dinosaurs, construction vehicles, bright colors, and/or fun, rhyming phrases. This book re-imagines construction..."
I Love You, Little One
 
5.0
"I LOVE YOU, LITTLE ONE is an elegant and lovely book that speaks to parental love. Perfect for bedtime, this..."
Fun on the Farm
 
5.0
"FUN ON THE FARM is an adorably ridiculous read. The book uses rhyming phrases to anthropomorphize farm animals in the..."
The Happy, Snappy Crab
 
5.0
"THE HAPPY, SNAPPY CRAB is a charming adventure through the sea. The board book features pop-up sea animals on every..."
Snuggle Tight, Kiss Goodnight
 
4.5
"SNUGGLE TIGHT, KISS GOODNIGHT is a lovely bedtime pop-up board book. The book features rhyming phrases related to bedtime and..."
When the Babies Came to Stay
 
5.0
"WHEN THE BABIES CAME TO STAY is a lovely story about non-traditional families, unconditional love, and community. Four babies arrive..."
The Triumphant Tale of Pippa North
 
4.0
"In Wanderly, everyone has a role. Some are Triumphants, the greatest of heroes, some are Tragicals, orphans doomed to a..."
TBH, This is SO Awkward
 
4.0
"'TBH, This is SO Awkward: A Novel in Text' by Lisa Greenwald is quite interesting in that it is written..."
Look Both Ways
 
5.0
"I often hear it said that writers are bred, and sure you can breed some decent writers with whatever amount..."
Mr Penguin and the Fortress of Secrets (Mr Penguin #2)
 
4.5
"Mr. Penguins and his friends Colin the spider and Edith are trying to keep a rock safe from dastardly types..."
Pop-Up Peekaboo! Baby Animals
 
5.0
"POP-UP PEEKABOO! BABY ANIMALS is a charming lift-the-flap and pop-up picture book. Each spread features a parent animal who is..."
On These Magic Shores
 
5.0
"Twelve-year-old Minerva "Minnie" Soledad Miranda has big goals. She wants to be the first Latina president of the United States..."
Ghost Boys
 
5.0
"I always struggle to review these types of novels--these black lives matter, civil rights-esque novels. I often go into them..."