Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book Review: Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

My wish
is to fall
cranium over Converse
in dizzy, daydream-worthy

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?

Love and 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

The Short Version:
Lyrical and tender, Love & Leftovers packs a huge punch in a moving way. With a central character that definitely makes some mistakes but is likeable all the same, and a beautifully scripted story, there is a very personal component to this one. Smoothly written and easy to fall into, Love & Leftovers is a tale of want, heartbreak, and friendship.

The Extended Version:
Marcie has a boldness to her that is hidden under her view of being a leftover, an outcast that she was okay with in her original group of friends but she finds uncomfortable after moving. Wanting some kind of compassion and affection, desperate even for just a hug, Marcie finds herself facing some complicated decisions, and the pain that comes with them. When no choice feels completely right, she definitely makes a few mistakes, and her responses to everything are realistic and heartfelt. Torn not so much between two boys but between two places, and having valid reasons behind both sides, her characterization is spot on, poignant and genuine.

JD is charming, bold in his affections and sure of himself in a way that isn't too cocky. In the face of what she’s struggling with, he’s an especially good fit for Marcie, and certainly the kind of guy a girl could get head over feels for without realizing it. The chemistry between the two is explosive and realistic, and the incoming slew of questions and decisions she’s faced with adds a great element not only to her character but to their relationship.

Linus is a gentle and sweet guy, on the more emotional side of things and the kind of guy who you almost feel like you’re going to break even with the smallest thing. Despite that, he’s wildly romantic, forgiving, and just an all around amazing guy. Sure, he has his own way of dealing with everything, and makes some rough choices of his own, but there is still an incredibly endearing element to him that will have readers rooting whole heartedly for him.

The plot of this one is, in a lot of ways, a slow burn. From Marcie’s feelings for JD and then back to Linus, to the way everything happens, there is a build up for a big explosion, then tapering off before burn begins. Taking place in three main parts, and incorporating a huge amount of emotion and plot into each one, while also weaving them together overall, Tregay has built a stunning and addicting plot. Even when some of the characters make mistakes, the reasons and motivations are so solidly infused into the book readers will understand them.

With great connections between the characters, Tregay has built something readers will fall into from the start. Bringing in several bigger elements, particularly both love and lust, as well family issues and touching on sexuality, this one weaves multiple layers together in a beautiful, seamless way. Watching Marcie deal with her lust for not only Linus, but JD as well, and trying to make sense of the physical, emotional and mental relationships with the two is one of the most poignant and memorable aspects of this book. More than just trying to get some, but not always pure unfiltered love, Tregay tests the waters perfectly.

Written in free verse, this one has a very easy flow, using few words to tell a huge story. Holding a very heavy emotional component, and almost oppressive in it’s intensity at times, this one is vivid and real. Unflinching in it’s honesty, but noticeable in voice, there is something undeniably Marcie about this one while still having an easy to get into element to it.

This book is almost beyond words, something so perfectly done and potent in impact that the only recommendation is to read it. It’s a quick read, both from how thoroughly Tregay grabs her readers but also due to the free verse style. Marcie is a character that makes some mistakes, and causes more problems for herself on the way, but she also faces the consequences, and tries to figure things out in the best way she can. With a stellar cast, scenes both hot and painful, and an overall amazingly done plot, Love & Leftovers is a commanding and affecting must read.

Source: ARC received from author/publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (December 27, 2011)


  1. I love the sound of this! I'm craving for verse novels. Lisa Schroeder's books really caught my attention. I loved them and I would like to try Love & Leftovers! Great review!

  2. This book sounds so awesome. Thanks for the review.