Thursday, December 15, 2011

Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

Love & Leftovers
Title: Love and Leftovers
Author: Sarah Tregay
Pages: 304
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: December 27, 2011
When her parents split, Marcie is dragged from Idaho to a family summerhouse in New Hampshire. She leaves 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 "vacation" has become permanent. She starts at a new school where a cute boy brings her breakfast and a new romance heats up.
My take: The most difficult aspect of writing in verse is to be clear and concise while cleverly making the poetry flow and have the proper syllable count. It doesn't rhyme but it is written in a visual manner, much like Ellen Hopkins. Also like Hopkins, the emotions are raw, experiences real, subject matter relevant but a lot cleaner than Hopkins. 

Marcie is dealing with a lot as her father comes out, her mother slips into depression, and she is uprooted and moved across the country where she slips into the parental role and feels lonely and isolated. In Idaho, Marcie knew where she belonged. In the leftover crowd. In other words, the crowd that didn't belong to any crowd. They were the leftovers that didn't stand out. On the eastern coast, Marcie makes different decisions than she did in Idaho. 

So is this another book about growing pains and growing up, dating the football captain then clicking your ruby slippers and murmuring, "There's no place like home?" Absolutely not. I think that's what makes the book stand out. 

Marcie is grappling with the idea and definition of love, belonging, respect, and sex. Why didn't her boyfriend in Idaho at least try to get to second base with her? Is he gay, too? Why did her dad push the house of cards down and decide he was gay? Why did his decision ruin her life? Why must she suffer for her parents inability to love one another and be parental? What does she really feel for for J.D.? What does she feel for Linus? How much should she confide in her best friend, Katie? 

Marcie is flawed. Her friends are flawed. She betrays and she is betrayed. But Marcie learns from her mistakes, learns to accept situations out of her control, and accept flawed people, including herself. Much, much happens to Marcie in the few months the book covers and I couldn't imagine such a quick read could be so substantial in dealing with the issues of love, respect, sex, and healing but it is. 

Clear, concise, sweet, and illustrates the reasons for a moral compass without preaching it. 

Parental warnings: 

Language is strong. One "f" word. Other swearing is present, not overly abundant. 

Dialogue: Strong subjects addressed. Sex and petting are discussed. Again, the author craftily does not spell the activities in romance-novel detail. In one verse, petting is described by "exploring the geography of my body with his hands." Clever. 

Sex: Discussed. Dreamed about. It's not a subject the author shies away from and is somewhat central to Marcie's struggles but delicately approached, in most cases. 

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