Review: What You Left Me by Bridget Morrissey

What You Left Me by Bridget Morrissey
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review  
Amazon | BN | BAM | Indigo Indiebound 
If I Stay meets While You Were Sleeping in this beautiful and heartbreaking novel told in dual perspectives about friendship, family, and all the other threads that bind us together.

Martin and Petra meet for the first time at graduation, and though they’ve shared the halls of their high school for four years without crossing paths, there’s an instant connection the moment they’re seated next to each other at the commencement ceremony.

Then a car accident puts Martin into a coma; and Petra is somehow left picking up the pieces, using friends, family, and shared dreams to keep their surprise connection going.

Together they must unlock the truth of his situation, and with time running out, their bond becomes Martin’s best shot at waking back up to the life he's left behind.


Have you ever read a book where you were constantly hoping for the best but preparing for the worst? That's how I was for the entirety of What You Left Me. I kept hoping that Bridget wouldn't take a certain path, but at the same time, I could see it being a very strong possibility. 

What You Left Me wasn't what I was expecting. Honestly, I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but I wasn't expecting such a deep and moving read. This book made me laugh and cry. I alternated between angry, happy, and sad. There were so many times I wished that things could be different, but at the same time, I gave props to Bridget for making the choices she did regarding the plot. It made it a tough read for sure, but a tough read that I won't forget for quite some time. 

What You Left Me introduces Martin and Petra. They couldn't be anymore different. Martin is the funny guy, constantly in trouble with his teachers and family but loved by his classmates. Petra, on the other hand, has always been the star student, the trustworthy daughter, and the steadfast friend but all that changed one night. Now she's stuck sitting next to Martin at graduation instead of being at the front with the top of her class. Martin can tell that something isn't right with Petra, that she's brooding about something big, and even though it spells out nothing but trouble, he tries to get her attention, to make her smile, and this is what changes everything. 

Over the course of the book, I came to love Martin and Petra. On the surface, they seemed incredibly different. Martin seemed wild and carefree, forever the life of the party, while Petra was the smart girl, sticking to her books and her tight knit group of friends. Deep down, however, both Martin and Petra were lost...

Petra is dealing with the backlash of suddenly not being the perfect daughter, the perfect student. Everyone thinks she's graduating, but the truth is she's one credit short. She knows she should feel bad, even mad at herself for getting to this place, but she can't bring herself to feel anything. My heart broke for Petra. It was easy to tell from the start that something wasn't right, that she was just going through the motions. I wanted to know more, to learn more about what happened that night. More importantly, I wanted her to smile again, to live again. Yes, her decisions following that night weren't the best, but they were understandable. They could easily be fixed. What couldn't be easily fixed, however, was the non visible scars that remained on Petra, something that everyone failed to see but Martin. 

Martin, on the other hand, is growing tired of always being the funny, goofy guy. He wants people to see that there's more to him than his jokes and his bets. He wants more for himself. Some parts of him wonder if he even lived high school to the fullest...

Martin and Petra's meeting is sudden and quick, but it not only changes everything but starts What You Left Me off with a bang. I wanted to see more of Martin and Petra, to see them interact, to see if maybe there was more to everything than a quick meeting, but a car accident shatters everything. Suddenly, Martin is in a coma and Petra is devastated. Sure, she didn't know him well, but for some reason she can't get over what has happened, she's pulled to his bedside and pulled into his life. 

At its heart, What You Left Me is a book about second chances and how random encounters can change everything. What You Left Me is primarily character driven. Bridget spends a great deal of time building Petra and Martin's characters, and I really liked that aspect. There was something very interesting about their bond, something that made me curious to know what would happen next. I also liked how Bridget made everything interconnected. I loved seeing Martin and Petra's friend groups come together, often in some very surprising ways. 

There are two things, however, that I didn't like about What You Left Me. For one, I wish the POVs would have been labeled with the character's name. At first, it was hard to tell who was talking when, especially when the POVs expanded beyond just Martin and Petra. Additionally, I wish there was more about what happened to Petra that night. There was some resolution to it, but I wish there would've been more. In some ways, I feel like it was slightly pushed under the carpet by the end of the book. 

Overall, What You Left Me is a an emotional, deeply moving addition to contemporary YA. If you're anything like me, it will probably make you cry your eyes out, but I promise it's worth it. Bridget has something very special here. 

4.5 stars!! 


  1. If you cried, I know I will cry when I read this one. Sometimes I like the pain, and I adore books that feature second chance. I really like to see characters recovering from defeat, because it is such a hopeful and uplifting thing. Great review!


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