{review} LOVE & LEFTOVERS by Sarah Tregay

A Backwards Story is happy to be a part of The {Teen} Book Scene's LOVE & LEFTOVERS Tour!  Check out the tour schedule to see the list of events.  Last week, I interviewed Sarah Tregay and she responded with awesome answers in haiku form!

O P E N I N G   L I N E:


doesn't understand
that this is a summerhouse
meant to be lived in
only during the summer).
It is almost Labor Day.
Next week,
I'll start my sophomore year
at Oyster River High School
in Durham, New Hampshire,
because she doesn't have the courage
to go home
to Boise, Idaho."  
(pg. 1, US Hardcover Edition)

Don't forget to check out my interview with Sarah Tregayfrom last week if you haven't done so already!

Can I just say that I am guilty of judging LOVE & LEFTOVERS by its cover?  And its title?  Because, um, I am.  At some point, I'd seen a summary and knew the book sounded interesting, so I signed up for the tour.  But then...I forgot what it was about, so as my review date loomed closer, I kept putting off reading this because of the cover.  And the title.  I did the same thing last year with Stephanie Perkins' ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS.  Which, um, it turned out... I loved.  LOVE & LEFTOVERS is much deeper than it appears on first glance, and I found myself engaged into the story once it got going. So I reallllllllly need to stop judging books by their covers.  This was the second book I've ever read in Verse, the first being last year's AUDITION by Stasia Ward Kehoe, which I also r&r for a blog tour.

Marcie is easy to identify with.  When it is discovered that her father has been cheating--with another man--Marcie's mother takes Marcie and flees to their summerhouse in New Hampshire.  Marcie's mother has always flirted with depression, and now that her family is falling apart, she finds herself unable to function properly.  Marcie is alone and must function as the parent, doing errands such as grocery-shopping and running to the laundromat.  On top of that, her mother refuses to return to Idaho at summer's end, which means Marcie has to start at a new school, thousands of miles away from her boyfriend and her friends The Leftovers.  Anyone who's ever been uprooted and forced to move (as well as those who haven't!) will emphasize as Marcie attempts to fit in all over again.  She questions whether her boyfriend back home could also be gay since he never attempted to go further than first base with her and slowly forms a new relationship with a local boy...even though she never breaks up with her boyfriend. (But this is handled in such a way that you never hate Marcie, unlike many books with similar situations.)  When her mother discovers that she's seeing someone, she calls her ex-husband, who comes and takes Marcie back to Idaho.  Marcie's life is ripped apart all over again.  There are consequences to her actions from her time in New Hampshire, and Marcie no longer completely fits into her old life.

It's refreshing to see a book where a teenage girl can have completely open communication with her father, but a broken relationship with her mother, when it's normally the other way around (even though in real life, this often happens).  Marcie wavers between love, trust, and duty, ping-ponging back and forth in a totally relatable way. LOVE & LEFTOVERS is ultimately a story about a girl split in too many directions, with too many options to choose from.  It will resonate with so many people, from those who have suffered from--or witnessed someone suffering from--depression, to finding out a loved one is gay, to first love and heartbreak, to switching schools, and more. Since I'm still so new to the world of Verse, it's amazing to see how much story can be told deeply in so few words.  Very impressive!

C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I have the same feelings about the way this book is packaged that I do about Stephanie Perkins' ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS.  The cover and title both allow you to believe that the book is going to be a fluffy romance, when there are much deeper themes that evolve as you read.

I do like that the models are wearing Converse sneakers.  As I read the book, I posted quotes I liked on Goodreads.  I was pleased to see one of the quotes I liked listed when I pulled the summary just now for the review (see below).  It mentions Converse sneakers, so I like this quirky addition to the cover.

I also like the way the background is full of fluttering papers full of writing.  LOVE & LEFTOVERS is really Marcie's poetry notebook that talks about her daily life, so I loved seeing the pages everywhere, as though the image of the couple had stepped off the pages of the book and sprung to life for us to look at.

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Sarah Tregay
Release Date: Out Dec. 27, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Book/HarperCollins
Received: Borrowed


My Wish
is to fall
cranium over Converse
in dizzy daydream-worthy love.
(If only it were that easy.)

Marcie has been dragged away from home for the summer--from Idaho to a family summerhouse in New Hampshire. She's left 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 "summer vacation" has become permanent. She has to start at a new school, and there she leaves behind her Leftover status when 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 & 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.


  1. This sounds really interesting! I like that it's written in verse. I'll definitely be checking this out. Great review! :)

  2. I have been wanting to read this, but I sometimes struggle with verse novels.

    I really like that it turns the tables and she gets along well with her father and not her mother. It's rare to see that viewpoint!

    -Jac @ For Love and Books


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