What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi
Release date: August 5, 2015
Ryden is a soccer star with a good shot at a scholarship at UCLA. He's got an afterschool job at the Whole Foods and his cute coworker has a crush on him. Oh, and he also blames himself for the death of his girlfriend. Meg died giving birth to his daughter, Hope. The baby he's raising with the help of his mom. All in all, it's not exactly the senior year he thought he'd be having.
When he finds a message in one of Meg's journals he gets swept up believing that she might have left him clues or another journal, something that will help him be a better father to Hope. But, the longer he spends looking for a sign from beyond, he's missing out on the things he has in his current life. But, how can he move on when he sees Meg's face every time he looks at Hope?
Ryden is a typical teen in a very non-typical situation. He wants to be at practice and at senior parties but that is a life he's left behind. But, just because he's got responsibilities does not mean he's suddenly able to think like a grown up. Through a lot of this novel he's panicking and making the first decision he can think of. No matter what direction his mom tries to nudge him in, Ryden is often too wrapped up in his own problems to listen. Sometimes you want to shake him. Which seems pretty realistic.
Luckily for Ryden, he has a lot of people to help him and also to talk a little sense in to him. His mom, Meg's sister and her best friend as well as Joni, the girl at the Whole Foods, all are in his corner. You'll be pulling for him to find a way to make both the high school student and dad Ryden happy and firmly in the land of the living.