Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 3132
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

Bluebird
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In 1946, Eva leaves behind the rubble of Berlin for...
Merci Suárez Can't Dance
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seventh grade is going to be a real trial...
When You Know What I Know
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This harrowing, and ultimately hopeful novel in verse sensitively...
Between Perfect and Real
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A moving YA debut about a trans boy finding...
The Cost of Knowing
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dear Martin meets They Both Die at the End...
Gold Spun
 
4.8
 
0.0 (0)
If Nor can't spin gold, she can always spin...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic...
Small Favors
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Ellerie Downing is waiting for something to happen. Life...
If You Go Down to the Woods Today (Brown Bear Wood)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Journey through a magical woodland, with poems to read and...
Bunny Will Not Jump!: Ready-to-Read Level 1
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From the endless imagination of Jason Tharp comes a hilarious...
Milo's Christmas Parade
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A new picture book from Jennie Palmer starring Milo, a...
Slow Down: 50 Mindful Moments in Nature
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Slow down to watch 50 nature stories that command calm...
Once Upon A Pizza: Eight Crazy Ways Pizza Wasn't Really Invented, And One It Might Have Been
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Everyone loves pizza, but how was it invented? ...
A Kid's Guide to Fandom: Exploring Fan-Fic, Cosplay, Gaming, Podcasting, and More in the Geek World!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Help young fans get in touch with their inner geeks...
Awaken    Book 1 The A'vean Chronicles
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
SOME PEOPLE AREN'T DESTINED TO BE ORDINARY. With a...
Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Underdogs, unite! Celebrated nonfiction author Melissa Stewart offers young readers...

Latest Member Reviews

Bluebird
 
5.0
"It's 1946 and Eva leaves behind destroyed Berlin for New York City. Eva carries a deadly secret. One that others..."
Incendiary (Hollow Crown #1)
 
4.3
"INCENDIARY is an intriguing YA fantasy with rebellion, magic, and intrigue. Renata was stolen from her parents as a child..."
Love and Other Sins
 
5.0
"Read it in one sitting and can’t wait to read the next one!!"
 
4.3
"This was definitely an interesting book. I really enjoyed all of the witchy aspects of the book! It starts off..."
Small Favors
 
4.7
"SMALL FAVORS is a compelling, spooky, and atmospheric YA fantasy/horror that keeps the reader guessing. Ellerie is a young woman..."
Sidelined
 
4.7
"Julian is looking forward to his senior year in Meridien, Texas. He wants to play football and hopefully get scouted..."
Spectacle
 
3.7
"WHAT I LOVED: Nathalie Baudin is an extraordinary girl even before she discovers her psychometric abilities. She’s just sixteen,..."
Somewhere Only We Know
 
4.0
"Everything I know about K-pop comes from thirsty Twitter fancams, what has made it into the American mainstream, and an..."
A Song Below Water
 
4.3
"WHAT I LOVED: Tavia and Effie’s world is ours with just a little myth-made-real on top. The Hart family..."
Tin Heart
 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: Marlowe has spent much of her life living on the edge of death thanks to a..."
Off the Record
 
5.0
"Content warnings: rape, sexual harassment, sexual abuse Once upon a time, I had an ambition to become a journalist...."
The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games, 2)
 
5.0
"What I Loved: THE HAWTHORNE LEGACY, a sequel to THE INHERITANCE GAMES, is a book full of intrigue and mystery..."
The Cost of Knowing
 
5.0
"THE COST OF KNOWING is a heartbreaking and beautiful read about family, fate, and racism. After losing his parents and..."
Curses
 
3.3
"* I received an eARC of this book through Edelweiss+ for an honest review* “When..."
Between Perfect and Real
 
5.0
"BETWEEN PERFECT AND REAL is a heartfelt read about finding yourself and coming out. Dean knows that he is a..."
You Were Made for Me
 
3.3
"YOU WERE MADE FOR ME is a comedic YA contemporary/magical read about two friends, Katie and Libby, who somewhat accidentally..."
What I Like about Me
 
4.7
"WHAT I LIKE ABOUT ME is a charming and comical YA contemporary read that tackles some important themes. Maisie is..."
Yolk
 
4.3
"YOLK is an intriguing coming-of-age read that tackles, illness, mental illness, eating disorders, and unhealthy relationships. The story is told..."
When You Know What I Know
 
5.0
"'When You Know What I Know' by Sonja K. Solter is a beautiful story of a girl who is soul-searching..."
Better Together
 
4.7
"'Better Together' by Christine Riccio weaves together two well-known and engaging stories—that of 'The Parent Trap' and 'Freaky Friday'. When..."