Title: What We Left Behind
Author: Robin Talley
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Source: The Irish Banana Tours
Diversity in books. This is something I never really thought about until I became a book blogger. I just read whatever looked pretty. Then I read my first LBGQTIA not very long ago (review for it is HERE). However, it didn't really click with me that it was my first.
I have never tried to not read books that are classified as LBGQTIA in genre, I just some how have never really read them. It was all purely accidental.
Thankfully, I was able to participate in this blog tour hosted by The Irish Banana for What We Left Behind by Robin Talley. I am going to be perfectly honest here. I had no idea what this book was about when I signed up for the tour. I signed up because the cover is pretty (just look at it!).
I am glad that this cover pulled me in. I am glad that I got to read this book. It has helped to broaden my reading horizons and for that I am extremely thankful.
What We Left Behind is a book about love, friendship, and most importantly self discovery. Our main characters are Toni and Gretchen. They are two humans in love ready to go off to college. They are supposed to be going to different colleges but in the same city, Boston. However, the day before they are both supposed to leave Gretchen drops a big bomb on Toni. Gretchen tells Toni that she will not be following "their" plan and that she will actually be going to NYU instead. They decide to not break up and deal with a long distance relationship. They have been together for 2 years and they love each other more than anything. Now they have to discover who they are as individuals and not as a couple.
This next bit may be a bit spoilerish - but I really need to express my thoughts on this - so just warning you. It really probably isn't, but just in case.
This book has made me think a lot and it has taught me a lot. Before reading this one, I never once really gave a though to the use of gender pronouns. I knew that I would always use whatever gender pronoun someone asked me to use for them, out of respect, but I never thought much further beyond that. I never thought or realized how hard it can be for someone to decide what gender pronoun is the best for them to use for themselves.
This goes the same for what sexuality category you fall under. I never gave much thought on how hard it can be for someone to come up. I just never realized.
And that is just it, until I read this book - I JUST NEVER REALIZED. So thank you, Robin Talley, for writing about it.
By the way, I don't think a reader can avoid thinking and contemplating these very thoughts when they read this book. These two parts are very much a large part of this story.
Ok - the spoilerish part is over.
I could get into the characters and my thoughts on them, but that would give away some key parts of the story. I will say this though. I liked one of the main characters more than the other. I also liked quite a few of the side characters - especially the ones that would speak their minds and tell the main characters whats what - because I couldn't yell at them or tell them myself.
Overall, I felt that the story was a good one, but it was pretty heavy certain topics - gender pronoun use, gender identity, and chest binding to name a couple. There were also some words that I had to go look up to ensure I was understanding what they meant correctly. Not that that is a bad thing, but I would have liked some of them to have been explained a little bit better.
But all that being said, I find myself having a some what better understanding of all of these topics now. I think this is one that people should read to help them find a stronger understanding and/or to see that there are others out there with the same questions that they have. The lessons really make it worth the read.
This review is based on an ARC provided by The Irish Banana Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Check out the rest of the tour!!
Oct. 26: No BS Book Reviews - Q&A
Oct. 27: Addicted 2 Novels - Review
Oct. 28: One Way Or An Author - Fan Art
Oct. 29: Emily Reads Everything - Review
Oct. 30: Reading Is My Treasure: Top 10
Nov. 2: The Cover Contessa - Guest Post
Nov. 3: Good Books & Good Wine - Review
Nov. 5: Kelly Vision - Review