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"An Explanation," from 'Love & Leftovers' by Sarah Tregay

My mother
took two weeks off
back in June.

I asked her
(in July)
what we were doing.

I think she meant to say, "Vacationing,"
but she said, "Running away."

Which might have been okay,
even though I thought that
if I ever ran away,
I'd do it with
a certain emo-sensitive rocker boy
and not my mother.

“The worst part of this overextended summer vacation is leaving behind a perfectly good boyfriend with the deepest espresso-brown eyes a girl could get lost in,” 15-year-old Marcie confesses in Sarah Tregay’s novel “Love & Leftovers.”

Instead, Marcie finds herself on a road trip from her home in Boise, Idaho, to the cottage in New Hampshire where her mother’s family spent summers on the lake. They take off in her father’s cherished Mustang, “which Mom drove here to make him mad,” as Marcie processes the reason behind their escape: Her father is gay, he’s fallen in love, and her parents’ marriage is ending.

But what Marcie had hoped would be a temporary stay while her mother came to grips with the end of her marriage is turning into something more permanent.

Marcie is left to fend for herself: “My mother sleeps late almost every day because being asleep is better than being depressed.” She scrounges change from the coin holder in her father’s car and walks three miles to the Laundromat to wash her clothes. When Labor Day rolls around, she signs herself up for school.

Meanwhile, Marcie sorely misses her friends back at home, especially her boyfriend, Linus—a perfectly good boyfriend with the deepest espresso-brown eyes a girl could ever get lost in.” But the unraveling of her parents’ relationship, and the secrets her father kept from her mother, make her question whether she’s really in love with Linus.

She also worries that the fact that he’s never tried to do anything more than kiss her means they don’t have passion—and secretly wonders whether it’s a sign of something else, a sign that he’s gay.

When J.D., one of the hottest boys at school, begins to show an interest in her, Marcie lets herself escape in his arms—and pushes away the memories of the boy back at home who she hasn’t yet broken up with.

A Daydream-Worthy Novel

Written in verse, “Love & Leftovers” is Tregay’s debut novel. Award-winning young adult author Lauren Myracle describes “Love & Leftovers” as “the most delicious love story I’ve read in ages,” and this holds true in the sweetness of the scenes Marcie shares with Linus and the tantalizing explorations of lust between Marcie and J.D.

It’s a novel that allows young adults to consider their thoughts on love and relationships as Marcie navigates her own. “If my mom says women are not property, how come I want to belong to someone?” Marcy asks. And if she and Linus truly love each other, why don’t they have the kind of physical passion that seems to come so easily with J.D.?

More than anything, Marcie’s wish “is to fall cranium over Converse in dizzy daydream-worthy love,” she says.

In spite of what happened between her mother and father, Marcie finds that she can’t hate her father for turning their lives upside down. But she also is confused: How could her father change his mind about who he is and whom he loves most? “Would he tell me that it would’ve broken his heart to tell Mom the truth—so he chickened out and didn’t tell her?” she wonders.

“Love & Leftovers” is a sensitive exploration of relationships, family, and the bonds that hold us to one another.

love_and_leftovers

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
amygreenfield
Aug. 25th, 2012 06:07 pm (UTC)
That sounds terrific, Jeni. Thanks for the review!
jeniwrites
Aug. 25th, 2012 08:51 pm (UTC)
I read this book in a day, while flying to Las Vegas for a work trip, and I fell in love with the story and the author's writing. Can't wait to read more by her.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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