Joining us today for our bimonthly theme, Crazy Over Cybils, is Sarah Tregay’s Love & Leftovers. This was originally set to be featured for the Novel-in-Verse Reading Challenge that we joined last year. I even remember scrambling through the teen fiction shelves to find a suitable book for said challenge. It obviously didn’t get featured, otherwise I wouldn’t be talking about this book right now. (Please note that all book photos were taken by me and edited through my iPhone 4.)
I do believe, however, that the Universe has other plans for this book. It was late last year when I found out that it was one of the books nominated for 2012 Cybils for the YA category. **celebratory jump** I thought that it’s only proper that I give this book and myself (a non-YA-lover!) credit. So here I am, pouring my thoughts about Sarah Tregay’s Love & Leftovers.
I didn’t know exactly what it was that urged me to buy the book. It could be the cover image: girl on tiptoe and two pairs of Chuck Taylors. It could be the “group of freaks and geeks” who called themselves the Leftovers. Or it could simply be what Lauren Myracle, author of SHINE, said: it was “the most delicious love story” she has read in ages. I grabbed the book from the shelf and decided to take a bite of this 432-page-long yumminess.
Meet Marcie and Her Topsy-Turvy World
The story of Love & Leftovers was written in the point of view of Marcie Foster, a sixteen-year-old who left her life in Idaho to live with her mother in a summerhouse in New Hampshire. Reading Love & Leftovers is like reading Marcie’s diary, if she ever kept one. Page after page after page, she narrated the events that took place before, during, and after her move to New Hampshire. She talked about her parents, her friends and emo-rocker boyfriend that she left behind, her yearning for love and freedom, and her quest to redefine herself.
I enjoyed reading the book tremendously. I have to admit that it was the poetic nature of the novel that drew me to Marcie’s story. It is not everyday that I read YA fiction, and YA fiction in verse is definitely hard to come by. Had the book been written in the usual narrative, I probably wouldn’t enjoy the book as much. It truly is amazing what poetry can do to you, and I’ve never been happier to discover this novel-in-verse.
Same Drama, Different Day (and Truly an Ingenious One)
YA fiction is YA fiction, so the issues being dealt with in the book are not new. You follow Marcie as she struggled with her parent’s separation, homosexuality, long-distance relationships, new school, and the possibility of a new romance. Yes, you’ve read about them many times. However, Sarah Tregay’s beautifully written novel is packed with metaphors that will make you look at these issues in a different light.
The Bittersweet Taste of Young Love
Aside from poetry, what got me into the book was young love. After reading the book, I was fifteen once again. I wouldn’t call Love & Leftovers “my” book, though. I simply enjoyed reading Marcie’s thoughts about love and relationships.
As I have told Ms. Linda Baie,
I like it for its simplicity, for not being “overly-YA” if I may use that term, and for not being pretentious. It is what it is, and the thoughts and emotions that the characters portray – especially Marcie’s – are as honest as you can get.
Hate Marcie all you want for dwelling so much on her issues, especially those that have to do with love, but she is more transparent and honest in her thoughts and feelings than you or me. Who knows? Maybe you are also asking yourself the same questions about love. Maybe, like her, we just want to be loved, and maybe we are looking in the wrong place. And maybe, just maybe, there is a little bit of Marcie in all of us.
One of the most defining and memorable moments in the book came from the part when Marcie was in her most vulnerable, and she got everything all mixed-up. As much as I want to post more excerpts from the book, I do not want to ruin the story for you. I leave for you, my lovely readers, to discover what it was.
My favorite character is Linus, more than Marcie herself. He doesn’t appear until later in the book, but I love him dearly. It’s probably because he’s a goody-two-shoes like my boyfriend, minus the “emo-rocker” part. Linus is a total sweetheart.
Some Leftover Thoughts
Sarah Tregay’s Love & Leftovers is a thick-but-quick read. You will literally find yourselves devouring every page as you read through the beautiful lines. You will find a smooth transition from one chapter to the other. You will find that this book isn’t just about broken families and heartaches. You will find that it is a book about coming to terms with yourself as much as it is a book about finding what’s important in your life. It’s cute and funny, and is definitely a refreshing read. As I’ve said in the beginning of this review, YA novel-in-verse is hard to come by. Pick up this book, and give it a chance.