Reynje's Reviews > Love and Leftovers

Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay
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May 07, 12

bookshelves: contemp-or-realistic, read-2012, young-adult, verse
Read from May 04 to 05, 2012

3.5 stars

It’s fair to say that I’m fickle when it comes to verse novels - I can’t decide whether I like them or not.

But I do like this book.

Love and Leftovers is an earnest, sweet story of a teenage girl’s journey through trials of the heart, family and friends. There’s nothing particularly ground-breaking in the plot: Marcie’s parents have split up, her father has a new boyfriend, and her depressed mother has fled across the country, dragging Marcie with her. Alone in a new state, Marcie is attempting to balance a long distance relationship with her emo-rocker boyfriend, and the burgeoning interest of local jock J.D. In a new place, Marcie can become a new person, but is that who she really wants to be?

This is a case where the verse is what makes the story compelling and vital. Tregay’s writing breathes life into the premise, resuscitating a somewhat vanilla concept into something more complex and interesting. Tregay uses different styles of verse here effectively – smoothly transitioning between free form and more traditional poetic structures to suit each particular scene. As I read Love and Leftovers, I felt I was reading poetry, not simply sentences broken into stilted shards.

What also works in the book’s favour is that I was convinced this was the voice of a teenage girl. The novel takes the form of poems Marcie writes in a notebook, interspersed with IMs with her best friend and song lyrics (Shh. Yes, I know. Song lyrics. But trust me, it’s okay – they work). It reminded me so much of the way I expressed myself as a teenager (although my poetry was decidedly rubbish), that it felt unmistakably realistic.

I also enjoyed the inclusion of Marcie’s group of friends, dubbed the Leftovers, and the way they resisted being categorised under one stereotypical high school label. I love books that acknowledge that high school doesn’t always fall neatly into popular/not popular boxes, and friendships that are diverse. As a former Leftover myself, I really appreciated the way Tregay created a cast of characters that were interesting and seemingly contradictory in themselves – because this feels truer to me than stock standard high school archetypes.

At it’s heart, Love and Leftovers is a story about making mistakes, and moving on. It handles topics both sensitively and frankly, upfront about self-doubt, sex and depression. Or in Marcie’s words:
[…]poems about love, lust, and loneliness,
Docks, fires, and gravel lanes,
Big panties and condoms,
Blue dresses and rocking canoes,
Talent shows and selfish bitches,
Quiet crushes and candlelit cupcakes…”
I may never make up my mind about verse novels in general, but I’m definitely a fan of Sarah Tregay's charming debut.
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Reading Progress

05/05/2012 page 77
17.0% 6 comments

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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message 1: by Mands (new) - added it

Mands Ooooh, this sounds so good!


Reynje I hope so :)


message 3: by Trinity (new) - added it

Trinity I keep reading the author's name as Sarah Tragedy.


Reynje :) That would be kinda awesome..


message 5: by Trinity (new) - added it

Trinity I know I'd totally read her books


message 6: by Chachic (new) - added it

Chachic Lovely review, Rey! I'm curious about this one since I want to read more novels in verse.


Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews) "As I read Love and Leftovers, I felt I was reading poetry, not simply sentences broken into stilted shards" this is exactly why I have learned to avoid (YA) verse novels - the random and awful splintering off of sentences to seem like poetry. I think I'll add this one to my TBR pile :)


Reynje Thanks Chachic :)

Jessie - I know! I feel exactly the same way, which is why I tend to shy away from most verse novels. I thought this one read like actual verse, however, which was great :)


message 9: by Catie (new)

Catie I love poetry but like you, I am pretty undecided about novels in verse. Although honestly, I've only read two so with a sample size that small I can't really form a solid opinion. I'd be willing to try some more but I think they'd have to be ones that get absolutely stellar reviews. It's just not something that I enjoy for its own sake. I love that this one seems to be real poetry and not just broken up sentences though. Great review, Rey!


Angela Though I never wrote up a review for this, I felt the same way and rated it with a similar 3.5 stars. :)


Reynje Angela wrote: "Though I never wrote up a review for this, I felt the same way and rated it with a similar 3.5 stars. :)"

I rarely ever love verse novels, but I did like this one a lot..


Angela Reynje wrote: "I rarely ever love verse novels, but I did like this one a lot.."


This was and is the only verse novel I've ever read, and I was happy that it sit pretty well with me. I'm definitely going to recommend the style to reluctant readers in my future classroom b/c they can get through it so quickly. :)


Caitlin I'm actually pretty anti-verse novels so when I kept reading this one and then when I actually liked it I was amazed. I think your review sums up many of the things I felt, but it written well enough to convey them. (My reviews, I always fear, make sense only to me and people who know me well.) Thanks for summing things up so wonderfully!


Reynje Thanks Caitlin :)


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