Parents' Guide to

What I Leave Behind

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Teen walks out his grief in beautiful, captivating book.

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This beautiful and captivating little book about grief, friendship and empathy sneaks up and hits you with an emotional wallop. What I Leave Behind gives the reader Will's thoughts as he walks his neighborhood, which is his way of coping with the grief over his dad's death. The book has no real plot to speak of, but it tells an important coming-of-age story. Will's past, regrets, happy memories, and hopes all unfold as he walks and thinks. He learns a lot about himself and the world during these walks. His voice as a narrator is wonderful and relatable. Already an empathetic kid, his empathy grows as he closely watches the hopes and struggles of his friends and neighbors. Even though there's not a lot of "action," author Alison McGhee packs so much emotion and personal growth in so few pages it feels like magic trick.

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