In a traditional romance, the heroine meets the hero and sparks fly. And often even though there is attraction, the hero and heroine don’t always like each other very much at first. Of course in a romance, they are able to work out their differences and end up happily ever after.
While in many ways Love and Leftovers was a traditional romance, the hero and heroine are already dating when you first meet them! Marcie and Lionel are dating but there aren’t any sparks. Marcie’s family falls apart and she is forced to move across country with her mother. She struggles to keep her relationship going long distance, but is distracted by her mother’s depression and making friends at her new school. When sparks start to fly with a new local boy, Marcie gets even more confused.
While there are smaller storylines with her family and friends (a quirky group called The Leftovers), but the main focus of this book is on Marcie and her desire to love and be loved in return. She makes some mistakes, but is likeable. Marcie’s emotions are well described and many people can probably relate to her joy and pain of love and attraction. If you pick this up and are afraid at how big it seems, don’t worry! This book is written in verse – each chapter is a poem and reads really fast.
In Going Underground, 17 year old Del is living a complicated life. He was convicted 3 years ago by an overzealous District Attorney over a mutual sexting incident. He has some pretty severe restrictions placed on him, including no cell phone, no access to the internet and a hard time finding a job or being accepted to college. Del meets someone new who doesn’t remember him as the ‘boy from the news’. The way the story of Del’s conviction is revealed makes the book hard to put down, but also allows the details to emerge somewhat slowly as you get to know and care about Del. Livia is dealing with her own complicated issues at home and doesn’t want to hear about Del’s past right away. So while there are sparks both Del and Livia are cautious - each for their own reasons. Because the issues of sexting make for a somewhat mature read, this part was handled thoughtfully. Del and Livia’s love story isn’t light and fluffy. Even though this has a more serious tone, there are some funny parts and a beloved parrot with excellent comedic timing!