Writings and observations

Love and leftovers

strickland MICHAEL
STRICKLAND

 
Literacy

Anyone interested in the world generally can’t help being interested in young adult culture – in the music, the bands, the books, the fashions, and the way in which the young adult community develops its own language. – Margaret Mahy

Romantic and bittersweet, Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay captures one girl’s experience with family, friends, and love. I first met Sarah at an author signing at The Cabin in Boise. After perusing her work, I couldn’t wait to immerse myself in some of the books I saw.

In this debut novel in verse, Marcie is dragged to New Hampshire for the summer and soon realizes that her mom has no plans for them to return to Marcie’s father in Idaho. As Marcie starts at a new school, without her ragtag group of friends called the Leftovers, a new romance heats up, but she struggles to understand what love really means.

Tregay, who I lives in Eagle, Idaho — “with my husband, two Boston Terriers, and an appaloosa named Mr. Pots” (according to her website) — effectively captures the angsty life of a 16-year-old. Booklist said “after her father leaves her mother for a 27-year-old man, Marcie and her depressed mom move from Idaho to a family summer home in New Hampshire.”

The protagonist falls for J. D., a boy who is an irresistible cross between Prince Harry (his hair) and David Beckham (his abs), writes reviewer Ann Kelley. Only problem: Linus, her emo-rocker boyfriend 2,000 miles away. Seven months later, Marcie moves back to Idaho with her father, confesses to Linus, and has to deal with the fallout. Marcie funnels her pain into writing poetry— “there is no three strikes / when it comes to dating. / One heartbreak and that’s it.”—and her poems, which vary in form, are what compose this verse novel.

While the subjects cover typical teenage problems, including breakups, friendships, and parental issues, Tregay adds depth with her ability, in just a few words, to palpably express both the emotions of love and the physical longings that go along with it, the Booklist review says. This first novel may make teenage readers’ hearts beat a bit faster.

The poetry in the books is used skillfully and enhances a plot that keeps the reader engaged. Filled with the turbulent emotion of teen years, IM conversations, and emo love songs, Love and Leftovers is great for reluctant readers and poetic souls alike.

Love and Leftovers is an ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults title. Kirkus Reviews said that Tregay’s choice to write in verse works well, her spare but effective language artfully evoking what otherwise might be a conventional high-school romance.

Perfect for fans of romances like Anna and the French Kiss and those by Sarah Dessen as well as readers of poetry, Love and Leftovers is a beautiful and fresh take on love.

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