448 pp. Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Interest: Debut Author / Verse Novel
Source: ARC received from the publisher
Summary (From Goodreads):
My wish is to fall cranium over Converse in dizzy daydream-worthy love.
(If only it were that easy.)
Marcie has been dragged away from home for the summer—from Idaho to a family summerhouse in New Hampshire. She’s left behind her friends, a group of freaks and geeks called the Leftovers, including her emo-rocker boyfriend, and her father.
By the time Labor Day rolls around, Marcie suspects this “summer vacation” has become permanent. She has to start at a new school, and there she leaves behind her Leftover status when a cute boy brings her breakfast and a new romance heats up. But understanding love, especially when you’ve watched your parents’ affections end, is elusive. What does it feel like, really? Can you even know it until you’ve lost it?
Love & Leftovers is a beautifully written story of one girl’s journey navigating family, friends, and love, and a compelling and sexy read that teens will gobble up whole.
I always enjoy a well-written verse novel. Some authors have a better knack for it than others; Sarah Tregay is one of those authors. Love & Leftovers is an excellent and enjoyable debut verse novel that my students will love.
Marcie’s life has been turned upside down. Her mother is moving her from Idaho to New Hampshire for the summer, but that becomes more permanent. She’s away from her father and her boyfriend and her friends. How does a teenager cope with such a sudden, life changing move? It’s not easy for adults to endure, let alone teens. Marcie’s mother is depressed, which has left Marcie pretty much on her own and being the adult all while trying to cope with these changes. She feels alone and misses her life back in Idaho.
Marcie’s adorable boyfriend Linus misses her greatly and wants to make this long-distant relationship work. I don’t know if many teens will relate to the long-distance relationship, but I know many will relate to Marcie’s uncertainty about love and what it is. I remember thinking about this often when I was a teenager, even more when I was in college. While Marcie is trying to regain some semblance of normal in New Hampshire, she meets the attractive and athletic J.D. If she wasn’t doubting what love is like before, she certainly does when she meets and starts falling for J.D. Questions about loyalty and betrayal become big issues in this first part of Love & Leftovers. How far is too far with J.D.? Is she betraying Linus? Should she break it off with Linus? Marcie’s exploration of love and lust and sexuality left me so impressed with Sarah Tregay. It’s normal for girls to have feelings like Marcie does, and Love & Leftovers opens this up for girls to understand and relate to.
Not only was I impressed with Sarah Tregay’s writing, I was completely engrossed in her debut. I started it later one evening and didn’t put it down or get up until I was finished. Marcie is a wonderful, relatible character and I couldn’t get enough of her story. I needed to know how her relationship with Linus was going to pan out because she didn’t know how to talk to him about J.D. The first part of the novel is about her life in New Hampshire, while the second half is about her life back in Idaho. I love when authors set novels up this way because you know right away that the story is going somewhere you’ll want to explore and know more about. The majority of the story is about Marcie navigating love and friendship, but it’s also about her building better relationships with her father and mother. The layers of her story are told fluidly in beautiful verse.
There are so many pieces of this novel that teens will relate to and love. If you haven’t explored verse novels, Love & Leftovers would be a great way to introduce yourself to this style of writing. I can’t wait to read more of Sarah Tregay’s novels. If only it didn’t take so long to write and publish novels! 🙂
**This review has also been posted today on the Nerdy Book Club blog.**