3.5 star review and ARC giveaway here. Ends 1/16/12 http://fireandicephoto.blogspot.com/2012/01/love-leftovers-review-and-arc-giveaway.html
I picked up Love and Leftovers from Harper Collins over the holiday and found it to be a nice, fresh break from heavy reading. Even at over 400 pages, since it's written in verse it's a quick nicely flowing read, similar to the style of Lisa Schroeder. Marcie and her family are living in Idaho where she has the perfect emo boyfriend who is somewhat shy and studious with a rock band made up of a group of her friends called the leftovers. They don't quite fit in with the rest of the groups at their school but they stick together and make the perfect fit amongst themselves. Life shifts one day when Marcie and her mother run into Marcie's dad with a another man who is more than "just a friend." Mom decides it's time for a divorce and heads back to her hometown in New Hampshire with Marice in tow.
Sarah Tregay does a great job contrasting the life of Idaho versus the life on the Eastern seaboard, describing the humorous accent "like buttah." JD, a popular member of the football team takes an interest in Marcie as the new girl at school and she shifts from being a leftover to being one of the popular crowd. All the while Marcie's mom has taken a spiral for the worst and is battling severe depression. Without becoming heavy handed the story addresses teenage sexuality, coming of age, divorce, depression, teen parenting and codependency. I really liked the way Marcie's mother's issues were written in a realistic fashion that accurately portrays how parental depression can influence a teen. While battling to function daily, her mom doesn't have the skills to cope with what's going on with Marcie who has just recently discovered she has hormones and questions- a lot of them.
I also liked the way her dad and his partner handled Marcie. Dad coming in to answer her questions while his boyfriend takes up running alongside Marcie to get to know her. Even though I don't agree with some of their answers I like their open lines of communication. Obviously she has a lot of navigating to do and both she and her boyfriend make some pretty stupid choices. But overall, the tone remains light. I will say this is definitely a book for older teens as there is moderate swearing including the "f" word and very open discussion of sex, condoms, birth control, sexual orientation, and exploration. It is heavy handed in the hormone department so parents may want to check it out. I like that the author compares how the mother and father each handle or don't handle Marcie's tough questions. Thanks so much to Harper Teen for the advanced reading copy!