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WHAT I LEAVE BEHIND by Alison McGhee, 5 star review
May 16th, 2018 by Liza Wiemer

WHAT I LEAVE BEHIND

by Alison McGhee

Where to buy it: IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  Book Depository

 

This novel has received 3 starred reviews! 

Thank you @simonteen for my review copy!

From Goodreads:

After his dad commits suicide, Will tries to overcome his own misery by secretly helping the people around him in this story made up of one hundred chapters of one hundred words each.

Sixteen-year-old Will spends most of his days the same way: Working at the Dollar Only store, trying to replicate his late father’s famous cornbread recipe, and walking the streets of Los Angeles. Will started walking after his father committed suicide, and three years later he hasn’t stopped. But there are some places Will can’t walk by: The blessings store with the chest of 100 Chinese blessings in the back, the bridge on Fourth Street where his father died, and his childhood friend Playa’s house.

When Will learns Playa was raped at a party—a party he was at, where he saw Playa, and where he believes he could have stopped the worst from happening if he hadn’t left early—it spurs Will to stop being complacent in his own sadness and do some good in the world. He begins to leave small gifts for everyone in his life, from Superman the homeless guy he passes on his way to work, to the Little Butterfly Dude he walks by on the way home, to Playa herself. And it is through those acts of kindness that Will is finally able to push past his own trauma and truly begin to live his life again. Oh, and discover the truth about that cornbread.

 

MY REVIEW:

What I Leave BehindWhat I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If this isn’t on your radar, it should be! This is a remarkable YA novel!

From page one, I was pulled into this beautifully written, uniquely told story. There are 100 written pages with 100 words on each page. Perfect for reluctant readers, this novel will draw you in. Will, our narrator, shares his pain of his dad’s suicide, the rape of his best friend, Playa, and the action he takes to cope with this trauma. He walks it off. But during his walks, he gives to others, often in secret. It brings him great joy to make other people’s lives better. For a book with few words, it’s filled with plenty of fascinating characters. There’s a homeless man named Superman, Will’s boss, Major Tom, and Mrs. Lin, who owns what Will calls “the blessings store.”

I really felt for Will. He has a huge, loving, compassionate heart. This world needs kindness, and this novel spreads it in spades!

Highly recommend!

View all my reviews

 

About Alison McGhee

Allison McGhee, photo from her Goodreads page

Alison McGhee writes novels, picture books, poems, and essays for all ages and is the author of #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestseller SOMEDAY, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Her work has been translated into more than 20 languages. She lives in Minneapolis, California and Vermont.

Visit her: Website 

Twitter

Goodreads

 


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