Title: Love & Leftovers
Author: Sarah Tregay
Publication Date: December 27, 2011
Opening Sentence: “My mother doesn’t understand that this is a summerhouse (meant to be lived in only during the summer).”
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is to fall
cranium over Converse
in dizzy, daydream-worthy
(If only it were that easy.)
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.
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?
I’m sort of on the fence about Love and Leftovers. It was interesting from beginning to end and I think I finished it in one or two sittings, but the subject matter is a little… rocky. This may or may not be a spoiler, but there’s a lot of cheating in this book. I’m not really sensitive about much when it comes to books, but I can see other people being put off by a book that basically revolves around infidelity. It isn’t only a tale about trust and the like, though. It’s also something of a coming of age story. Marcie is, after all, still a teenager trying to make her way around life.
Marcie was a decent protagonist. She was one of those characters you can’t help but shake your head at and say, “How can you not understand?” She was naïve in a lot of ways, but maturing rapidly as a result of her mother’s depression and inability to perform her duties as head of the household. In a way, taking care of her mother is one of the reasons Marcie was having trouble in her own life. Perhaps things got so cluttered that she was basically “acting out”. Either way, Marcie’s character development throughout the book was wonderful.
Now, the concept of the Leftovers seemed extremely complicated to me until I sat down and read the book. Honestly, I have no idea why it seemed complicated, but it did. The Leftovers are generally the kids in school who don’t fit into any one group OR don’t fit into “the high-school sitcom caste system”, if I want to quote the book. I loved the variety of interests and talents within Marcie’s group of friends. They all have distinct interests and histories and are different from each other in many ways, but alike within every difference. (Does that make sense or am I just talking now?) It sets in stone how these people ended up together. I’m actually a bit sad we didn’t get more time with all the friends, because they seemed pretty awesome. I also loved Danny, Marcie’s father’s partner. He was so chill and friendly. He seemed like one of those people you just want to know and be associated with.
All in all I enjoyed this book a lot. It’s a novel in verse, so very quick to read, but the story was complete. It wasn’t as “cute” as the title led me to believe at first, but then again it never promised to be in the first place. I definitely recommend you check this one out, but be aware that there’s more to the love aspect than just hearts and flowers.