Leftovers

Leftovers

4.3 46
by Laura Wiess
     
 

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A devastating novel of desperation and revenge from one of today's most compelling new voices in fiction. In this follow-up to her heartbreaking debut, Such a Pretty Girl, Laura Wiess once again spins a shattering tale of the tragedies that befall young women who are considered society's Leftovers.

Blair and Ardith are best friends who have…  See more details below

Overview

A devastating novel of desperation and revenge from one of today's most compelling new voices in fiction. In this follow-up to her heartbreaking debut, Such a Pretty Girl, Laura Wiess once again spins a shattering tale of the tragedies that befall young women who are considered society's Leftovers.

Blair and Ardith are best friends who have committed an unforgivable act in the name of love and justice. But in order to understand what could drive two young women to such extreme measures, first you'll have to understand why. You'll have to listen as they describe parents who are alternately absent and smothering, classmates who mock and shun anyone different, and young men who are allowed to hurt and dominate without consequence. You will have to learn what it's like to be a teenage girl who locks her bedroom door at night, who has been written off by the adults around her as damaged goods. A girl who has no one to trust except the one person she's forbidden to see. You'll have to understand what it's really like to be forgotten and abandoned in America today.

Are you ready?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Like her equally gripping debut (Such a Pretty Girl), Wiess's suspense story delivers an outsize jolt of adrenaline. Meet Ardith, the much-derided daughter of a low-life, abusive family, and Blair, her more respectable best friend, whose father "ditches [her] to go cheat with his girlfriend and [whose] mother pimps [her] out to further her career." The two take turns narrating what initially appears to be a police statement; however, Wiess shrewdly times clues to suggest rather different circumstances. The girls chronicle a history of suffering (rape, ridicule, abandonment), until they decide to take control and pay back their wrongdoers-with interest. As scandals usually do, the final moments of the book unfold with a bang and a twist, and readers may be shocked at Blair and Ardith's actions even if they are not completely surprised. Although the "best friends against the world" theme is not new, Wiess's clear insight into the evolution of victim into perpetrator and her layered storytelling bump up the subject to a much more challenging playing field. Ages 13-up. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
KLIATT
AGERANGE: Ages 15 to 18.

This tale begins at the end. Taking turns, Blair and Ardith tell their story--their confession--to an unknown listener. Though they are only 15, it quickly becomes clear that they are bitter, jaded, and have seen too much for their young age. They grimly tell their listener that there are some hard lessons one has to learn to survive the transition from child to teenager, and their story is laden with them. Blair and Ardith come from dysfunctional families where the girls are basically on their own. As their story unravels, the listener learns of the drinking, abuse, rape, and neglect that define their lives. The girls cling to each other, but Blair’s mother does her best to keep them apart. They muddle along, just barely surviving their personal hells. When an accident brings their families together in an unlikely way, the girls can’t take it any more. Sick of watching their families pretend to be people they aren’t, the girls develop a plan to expose the truth, hoping the outcome will change their lives for good. Blair and Ardith’s confession is completely gripping and disturbing. Here are essentially good girls who are doing their best to thrive in awful circumstances. They suffer emotional, sexual, and physical abuse. They are manipulated, lied to, used, and ignored. The crime they confess to remains unclear right up until the end, building suspense in an already tense story. Their narratives bring up questions of free will, intent, and responsibility. Blair and Ardith contend that while guys explode (in violent and vengeful ways), girls implode, absorbing the pain of annihilating themselves. The end of their story will leave readers wondering if there’struth to that idea, if one way is better than the other, or if maybe both exploding and imploding can happen simultaneously. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)

VOYA
Blair and Ardith need to grow up. Fast. At fifteen, there is so much they need to know to survive. Information such as how to duck under all the unwanted attention dished out by drunken parents and the oversexed friends of Ardith's older brother or how to deal with the emptiness and unrealistic expectations found at the mausoleum that Blair's professional parents call home. So they do. They learn to use the weapons at their disposal-sex, gossip, lies, even the truth-to pay back everyone who has ever harmed them. They finally win-or do they? The open ending leads to questions over whether the price the teens pay is too high for the success they achieve. Told with clarity and sympathy, this book leads the reader through the bleak maze of traumatic adolescence. With just enough intrigue and suspense, it is difficult to put down. The characters are well rounded, and although none is particularly likeable, there is enough common ground in each for the reader to identify in some way with all of them. It is interesting that the only "good guy" in this book is the friendly, neighborhood cop, who plays a pivotal although somewhat ineffectual role in this excellent addition to all libraries, especially those serving urban youth. Reviewer: Angie Hammond
Kirkus Reviews
Suburban teen girls take justice into their own hands. Ardith and Blair come from opposite sides of the tracks. Despite their dissimilar socioeconomic status, the girls are kindred spirits. Both want to escape the hostility of their family lives and gain control of their future. Ardith's parents live on the fringes of society. Her parents are substance abusers with extremely relaxed morals, and her older brother is a sexual predator. Always skirting the law, Ardith's family is but a few infractions away from incarceration. Her spotless academic record and her virginity are Ardith's only sources of strength and hope-until she meets Blair. The daughter of privilege, Blair is used as a pawn by her social-climbing parents. Caught up in her parents' miserable marriage and political scheming, Blair learns to suffer in silence. Isolated and manipulated, Blair is desperate for attention and longs for power. Ninth grade brings the two girls together as they contend with first boyfriends and surging hormones. Lacking parental supervision, the girls start getting into trouble as they begin to experiment with sex, drugs and alcohol. Their cries for attention start small but escalate quickly. As their exploits get riskier, a kindly police officer gets tragically pulled into their messy lives. To set things right, the girls scheme to pay back all the adults who have slighted them. The climax is explosive, but it's the feisty heroines who will resonate more. Gritty drama from Wiess (Such a Pretty Girl, 2007) that will get teens and parents talking.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416584759
Publisher:
MTV Books
Publication date:
01/01/2008
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
230,988
File size:
268 KB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Laura Wiess is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Such a Pretty Girl, chosen as one of the ALA’s 2008 Best Books for Young Adults and 2008 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, and Leftovers. Originally from Milltown, New Jersey, she traded bumper-to-bumper traffic, excellent pizza, and summer days down the shore for scenic roads, bears, no pizza delivery, and the irresistible allure of an old stone house surrounded by forests in Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains Region. Email Laura Wiess at laura@laurawiess.com or visit http://www.laurawiess.com for more information.

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Leftovers 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the strong characters, even stronger and painfully logical development of them, to the voice it is written in and the plot itself- added in with Wiess' knack for saying things perfectly- this piece is a work of genius. Many of the events that happened are ones I didn't expect but that seems to be the case with her books- there is simply no way to predict where things are going to head next. If you can stomach the raw emotions, the angst-filled plot line, and the overall content, then read this book. It is well worth it. I enjoyed the way the author wrote this - the point of view alternating between each of the girls. The story is told as though they are telling everything to one particular person - which they are. With this type of writing, it brings the story even more to life, I feel. To be honest, I am a bit torn as to my complete feelings of Leftovers. I enjoyed it, but can't say that I loved it. It was very enlightening and I am glad that I read it - it also has made me curious to read the author's other work "Such a Pretty Girl" and any upcoming works. I would say for those who have not read Leftovers, to give it a try, it is very original and will make you think a bit. In Leftovers, we begin with two girls - Blair and Ardith. They come from two totally different backgrounds, yet they share many of the same heartaches, sorrows and despair over their family life. Both come from dysfunctional families - Blair's more the emotional, while Ardith battles with both physical and emotional. Teens these days are forced to grow up much too early and have to deal with things that they should not even have to worry about. Leftover brings those facts to life.  
TeenReader16 More than 1 year ago
My friend told me about this book. I thought I wasn't going to like it because I didn't like to read, but, WOW!!! This book is so exciting, alluring, and just plain interesting! I would recommend this to people who love an intense, shocking, and some provocative moments!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Have you ever felt alienated from the rest of the world? Have you spoken and known that nobody was listening? Have you ever screamed ¿No¿ and been ignored at every turn? Ardith and Blair have experienced all that and more. And now they have committed a despicable act of vengeance in an effort to make everything ¿right¿ again.

Blair and Ardith are best friends. They are fifteen, in the ninth grade, and have miserable, though very different, home lives.

Ardith lives in a party house. Her parents are nightly hosts to a group of drunken teenage boys. Without limits, the boys control the house and any female that dares to enter it. Not even Ardith is safe from their advances. Blair comes from an affluent family. Her parents are successful in their careers, have a new home, and are poised to rise through the
local social and political ranks. Now her mother is making decisions to shape the family image; decisions that are wrenching Blair away from the those she loves most. In addition to their family problems, Blair and Ardith are now becoming victims of the school rumor mill and some very cruel classmates. How much can they be expected to tolerate?

LEFTOVERS is a dramatic and disturbing story of two girls who have been pushed to great lengths. It is written in alternating points of view, as each girl describes the events that led them to a final, desperate act. LEFTOVERS is a captivating book that will keep you turning the pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LEFTOVERS Is The Type Of Book That Will Stay With You, Ive read It About A Year Ago And Still Think Of It From Time To Time. Laura Wiess' Writing Is So Beautiful. I Was Shocked, Sad, Angry, And Hurt. So Many Emotions Ran Through Me While Reading This. I Felt Attached To The Characters, And I Love Books Like That. I Recommend This Book To Teen Girls And Their Mothers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Confusing but really interesting.
Annie19 More than 1 year ago
Leftovers by Laura Wiess is a story of two teenage girls, Ardith and Blair, who are social outcasts and only have each other to lean on. The author alternates between the characters telling the story, and them talking into a recording device which you'll find more about once you read the book. The author did a good job of making this book a diary of the main character, Blair. I didn't like how the book was in second person for the other main character, Ardith, because this narration was confusing at times and I wasn't used to that type of writing style. The narration helped me understand points of view and details of the plot to keep the story straight. I liked that the characters were relatable, despite their family reputation. Leftovers dealt with the low points of high school such as rumors, trying to fit in, and family troubles. These girls dealt with the rumors positively and made them go away with a brilliant idea. This book shows that if one has ambition and dedication no matter the situation one can make a better life for themselves. This book was unrealistic because teenagers normally would not experience so much in a short time period. If this book was told within a two year period, then it would be realistic. It is ironic how Ardith's parents would give her a great deal of freedom that most teens would love, but she doesn't want freedom. She wants nights where she doesn't have to sleep with a hammer under her pillow because of her brother's hardcore partying. Blair's mom is a rising defense attorney who traded her family for her career. All in all, I believe that Leftovers is a good enjoyable book and I would recommend this book to all teenage girls."
KDH_Reviews More than 1 year ago
This book was certainly not what I was expecting after reading the blurb. Throughout the whole book, I’m expecting some huge event that completely flips the book from just mediocre to absolutely amazing (or at least worth the read). Instead, nothing. The book just ends. Right when we’ve reached the high point, the big unforgivable act, it just ends. We see no justice. We see no resolution. Highly disappointing. The weirdest part of the book was the second-person narrative. Surely it’s been done well before, but certainly not in this case. I assume the book was told this way in order to make the reader feel closer to the characters and become invested in them. Instead, for me, it did just the opposite. I never developed a connection to any of the characters and I didn’t really care what happened to either of them. I kept thinking about how strange the narrative was and it removed me from the story rather than immersed me in it. After reading some reviews on Goodreads, I guess this is one of those polarizing books. For some, it’s this amazing book. For others, like me, it’s a letdown. You can read all of my reviews on my blog, KDH Reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found one of Laura Weiss books a couple months ago(Such a Pretty Girl) and loved it. When I started looking up some of her other books, I saw this one and thought it sounded interesting.This book is fantastic. Usually the books i've read feature the love between a boy and girl as the core of the story, but with this novel it was the love and loyalty between two best friends Ardith and Blair. I could not put this book down; the style of how it was written switching between both of their sides of the story which not only makes you feel like you were there but highlights the bond between these two girls who know each other so well that they naturally mould together when telling their story. The tale of two girls with completely different lifestyles that are going through the exact same life experiences is beautiful and shows that no matter how lost they get or how dark it becomes they have each other. Five star story and would definitely recommend.
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