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ALL WE LEFT BEHIND
Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster, December 2015
For teenage couple Marion and Kurt, every kiss unravels memories they would both prefer to forget and whose long-buried secrets threaten to tear them apart.
When emotionally unavailable jock Kurt Medford, meets Marion Taylor, a virgin, at the bonfire, what seems like a sure thing turns into a disastrously failed hook-up. Kurt and Marion find themselves hot ‘n heavy in the ocean one minute, and pretending they don’t know each other the next. Both are desperate for a real connection but the secrets they keep threaten to tear them—and all the important relationships in their lives—apart.
Told in dual point-of-view, ALL WE LEFT BEHIND is a complex romance about the compounding effect of silence and the small interactions that can save us.
Ingrid Sundberg is a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, where she worked with Printz Honor winner A. M. Jenkins, Groundwood Books editor Shelley Tanaka, and Theodor Seuss Geisel winner Laura McGee Kvasknosky. She also holds a MFA in screenwriting and won the Cecil Award for TV writing at Chapman University. She is a published children’s magazine illustrator, and hosts the popular writing blog Ingrid’s Notes that receives over 600 views per day.
“Older teens will be deeply moved by this romantic drama and its pairing of sensuality and grief.”
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 Though Marion and Kurt are both emotionally withdrawn, they manifest it in different ways: she studiously avoids boys and eschews physical contact, while he engages in frequent meaningless hookups.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) – Kirkus Reviews
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