Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Leftovers by Laura Wiess

Leftovers, the sophomore showing by Laura Wiess, will certainly mark her place as an up and coming author with a great ability for telling some of the grittier aspects of being a suburban teen. Ardith and Blair are best friends who have long felt on the outside of society. From the beginning, the reader knows that there has been an act/crime committed by the girls and that they are trying to explain/confess to an injured adult with whom they appear to have an intense, if not intimate, relationship. Told in alternating voices, we learn of Ardith's free-loading, drunk parents who don't protect her from the advances of a parade of males in the house and "poor, rich" Blair's descent from relationship curious teen to abused and angry young woman. Wiess hits the mark with some of the most frank discussion about what societal expectations mean to young women in high school, how friendships at that stage of life take on a super-importance, and what can happen when people feel they must fight to survive through a typical high school.

I give this a YAY. I'd love to see it as top 20, but I don't know if it will be the top book of the year. It is a bit glitzy (MTV paperback format seems to do that to me), but I do think there are truths, that if they are not timeless, are certainly important to understanding modern high school hierarchies.

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