What We Left Behind

What We Left Behind

3.11 (2,097 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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From the critically acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselves comes an emotional, empowering story of what happens when love may not be enough to conquer all

Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They've been together forever. They never fight. They're deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college--Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU--they're sure they'll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, theirs is bound to stay rock-solid.

The reality of being apart, though, is very different than they expected. Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, meets a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, but Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.

While Toni worries that Gretchen won't understand Toni's new world, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in this puzzle. As distance and Toni's shifting gender identity begin to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide--have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 416 pages
  • 142 x 211 x 36mm | 499g
  • English
  • Original ed.
  • 0373211759
  • 9780373211753
  • 1,493,887

Review quote

Talley continues to tackle tough issues with unvarnished honesty. While Toni's awareness takes flight, Gretchen's confusion about the nature of their relationship (are they lesbians anymore?) and fears of saying the wrong thing steadies the narrative and resonates as well-intentioned and sympathetic. -Booklist

Characterization is poignant and razor-sharp... Emotionally astute. -Kirkus

With vividly drawn characters and killer prose, this is Robin Talley's writing at its best. I couldn't put it down. What We Left Behind perfectly portrays the tumultuous and scary (but exciting!) time transitioning between high school and college, when teens begin to find out who they really are. -Miranda Kenneally, bestselling author of Catching Jordan

What We Left Behind is a honest and searing love story, impressively complex and nuanced in its examination of the evolution of a long-distance relationship. A lot of words will be used to describe Robin Talley's follow-up to the acclaimed Lies We Tell Ourselves: Important. Brave. Necessary. They will all be true, and everyone should read this book. -I.W. Gregorio, author of None of the Above

Robin Talley beautifully captures the feeling of falling in love, falling apart, and finding your truth in this powerful novel. Toni and Gretchen's journey will make readers feel all the feels. An important read about strength, self, and discovery. -Tess Sharpe, author of Far From You

This title is a must-read for high school Gay Straight Alliance members...Toni's genderqueer identity contributes a fresh perspective to LGBTQ fiction. Recommended for all collections. -School Library Journal, starred review
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Rating details

2,097 ratings
3.11 out of 5 stars
5 15% (305)
4 24% (511)
3 30% (623)
2 20% (429)
1 11% (229)
Book ratings by Goodreads
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