Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review: Leftovers (and a bit of raging)

Okay okay, I know. I've been a flake this year. Apologies! This semester has been especially rough; as soon as I finish one thing, there seems to be ten other things that need to be done. Have you guys ever felt that way? As much as I love the college experience, my biggest discontentment with the schooling system is how little freedom students truly have to pick the classes they want to take. Now of course, this doesn't apply to every college student out there, but this has been an ongoing discussion between my classmates and me. Say, if you want a career in pre-med, you have all these prereqs that are ridiculously hard, and all your free time is spent building up your CV with hours of volunteering, research, lab work, extracurriculars, etc. Sometimes I feel so stressed I just want to scream, WHY. Us pre-med kids aren't the only ones who feel this way. Same goes for other paths, I'm sure. And I know that I really do have a choice, in that I could just choose not to be a doctor and instead pick something that won't steal my youthful years from me. After going this far though, it's too hard to see my cards holding anything else for me..

Anyways, I know public ranting is extremely annoying, but sometimes it helps to share a bit of what's peeving you, if only to infinitesimally relieve your burdens. Sorry guys! I'm on winter break now, which will last for over a month (yay!), so hopefully I'll get to simmer down and post some more reviews and such.

Onto the review!


Author: Laura Weiss
Publisher: MTV Books
Release Date: 1 January 2oo8
Pages: 256

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?

Luna's Take:

I love this author. She has a way with words, and I equate her writing abilities to those of Stiefvater, Clare, and Collins. I first got hooked after reading her book, How It Ends. You can read my review here. That being said though, I didn't like this one as much as How It Ends.
That sounds like a huge contradiction, right? How can I rave about this author and yet not fully love one of her novels? Essentially, I almost feel like I know this author. Her writing is so poignant and memorable, her own personally seeps out between the lines. If you've ever felt a deep connection with a book (the story itself, and not the characters), you know what I mean. If not, I'm pretty sure I must sound like a psych patient to you.. ;D

Ultimately, even though I didn't like this as much, I still want to read her other books. It's kind of like, oh there were a couple hiccups in this one, but who cares! The author is still amazing, and this stuff is better than the majority of other YA works out there!

The two main characters, Ardith and Blair, have some pretty effed up lives. Ardith lives in a fairly shabby house on the outskirts of town with middle-aged parents who can't seem to loosen their grasp on teenagedom and an older brother who leeches on any decent-looking girl within eyesight. You know how in high school, there was always that kid whose parents were gone for the weekend, so his house automatically became party central? That's how Ardith's house is, except for her it's 24/7, rain or shine. She lives in constant fear of being assaulted by hordes of drunken people right outside her room, so she padlocks her door every night and sleeps with a screwdriver under her pillow.

Ardith, instead of being noticed too often, is frequently ignored by her job-crazy mother and absent father. She lives in near isolation, in a posh house with two parents who can't even stand to look at each other without resentment. When her parents commit the ultimate act of betrayal against her, she begins to fall apart internally, losing her passion for life and passively conforming to their societal expectations.

The characters themselves were sketched out extremely vividly, which was my favorite part about this novel. Weiss has a way of allowing her readers an exclusive, raw look into the intricacies of her characters' lives. When I read the summary, I was so excited to find out what the girls did.. Upon discovering what it was though, I found myself rather disappointed. I thought the ending could have been elaborated upon, or at least dramaticized more. But I can't complain too much, because I still managed to breeze through the book in less than 24hrs :P Looking forward to reading more from this author!

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