Monday, July 1, 2013

love & leftovers by Sarah Tregay

Oh my goodness. Oh MY goodness.

Go find this book right now.

This book is good.

As part of my goal to read "The United States of YA" as created by Epic Reads, I picked up love & leftovers by Sarah Tregay at my local library. Had I taken a closer look at the title (which is actually love & leftovers: a novel in verse) I might have put it back down. I don't read a lot of poetry, and I very much try to avoid teenage emo angst. However, I grabbed up the first four books from the Epic Reads list that I could find at the library with any remote connection to my life (like the states I've lived in or frequently visited because friends and family live there), and love & leftovers was one of them.

Thank goodness I didn't put this one back down.

Because it's that good.

Even though it's in verse.

Possible BECAUSE it's in verse.

Seriously, the whole story is told through the poems of Marcie Foster, teenager, daughter, best friend, girlfriend, and poet.

The poems clearly spell out that Marcie had a rough summer that turned into a rough school year. Her parents' marriage has crumbled because of a fairly typical scenario involving less than standard participants. Her mother packs up a suitcase and Marcie and heads to New Hampshire (hi, Chanin!) to a family summer house.

Here's how Marcie explains the situation.

An Explanation

My mother

took two weeks off

back in June.

I asked her

(in July)

what we were doing.

I think she meant to say, "Vacationing"

but she said, "Running away."

Which might have been okay;

even though I thought that

if I ever ran away,

I'd do it with

a certain emo-sensitive rocker boy

and not my mother.

And then Marcie and her mother overstay the summer. So now Marcie is away from her home, her friends, her boyfriend, and her father. Instead she has her absent-through-depression mother, a new school, and no friends except for a really cute boy who brings her breakfast. Marcie is lonely and mostly alone. The only thing, besides her poetry, that seems to help is talking to her best friend. Talking to her boyfriend just makes her sad because they can't seem to speak of anything except for how much it hurts to be apart.

So Marcie copes and she writes and she starts to fit into this new life in New Hampshire. She still misses her old life, but she's beginning to feel slightly less lonely, until her mother, who hasn't been paying attention to much of anything at all, decides that she doesn't like how much time Marcie spends with the cute boy.

And so Marcie goes back to Idaho to live with her Dad and to try and fit into her old life.

That doesn't go as easily as she hoped. In fact, Marcie realizes how lonely you can be even when your favorite people are geographically close to you, but she also learns how amazing it can be to have truly good friends. And maybe, despite the big mess her parents made and the smaller messes she made herself, she might finally figure out how it feels to be in love.

Goodness, this book is good. It is, however, definitely for an older YA crowd. The topics this book tackles either head-on or tangentially are infidelity, sexual orientation, teen sex, teen pregnancy, clinical depression, betrayal, contraception, love, and divorce.


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