ALL WE LEFT BEHIND by Ingrid Sundberg


Age Range: 14 - 18
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Two high school students from seemingly different worlds find that their intense chemistry is not the only thing that draws them together in this debut novel.

Though Marion and Kurt are both emotionally withdrawn, they manifest it in different ways: she studiously avoids boys and eschews physical contact, while he engages in frequent meaningless hookups. However when Marion's wild, boundary-pushing friend Lilith throws them together at a party, they can barely keep their hands off each other while they go for a swim in the lake. This touches off a connection between the two that feels at once magnetic and dangerous. The respective agonizing secrets harbored by Marion and Kurt are revealed to readers before the characters share them with each other and establish them both as authentically sympathetic alternating first-person narrators. The dreamy, dialogue-driven text flows easily, and though some may grow impatient with the elusive on-again, off-again nature of their relationship, the pair's sexual tension can’t be denied, and its eventual resolution is steamy and honest in its vulnerability. An ongoing metaphor set up early on about drowning serves the narrative well as both Marion and Kurt are pulled under by their emotions and the demons of their pasts.

Older teens will be deeply moved by this romantic drama and its pairing of sensuality and grief. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4814-3742-4
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2015


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