Title: Leftovers (Amazon)
Author: Laura Wiess
Publisher: Simon Spotlight Entertainment
Release Date: 2008
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? (Goodreads)
Kim’s Take: I absolutely loved this book! Laura Wiess has become on of my favorite authors. She tends to write dark books and for some reason I seem to be attracted to that sort of genre right now. I think it’s because I like to read about how people tend to handle or get through desperate situations.
This book is based on two young teens, Blair and Ardith, who both have less than desirable family situations. Blair’s parents both have professional careers and her mother has her sights set on becoming a judge which consumes every bit of her attention. She is all about appearances which spurs a tragic event in Blair’s life which she will never forgive her mother for. Her father is just as absent, spending as much time as he can with his mistress. Needless to say, Blair is left alone the majority of the time.
Her best friend, Ardith, lives in a home that is the site of a non-stop party. Everything centers on drinking, groping, and sex. Her brother is bad news and considers women disposable. And her parents are no protection as they are a part of the party and seem to encourage it. Her mother runs a pornography website to give you an even better idea of what her home life is like. Ardith sleeps with her door padlocked and a screwdriver under her pillow.
Over the course of about a year, Blair and Ardith take turns telling the story leading up to an unforgivable act committed by the two of them to right what they feel is a terrible injustice. I swear I read this book in several hours because I couldn’t wait to find out what these two young girls could have done. And it doesn’t really come out until the end of the book and is nothing like I suspected it may be. It just became more surprising the farther I got into. My heart really broke for them in respect to the lives they have had to lead and being made to feel they have no one but each other. My favorite line in the book was "The only thing worse than being invisible is being visible and powerless". And that describes these two girls perfectly.
Another thing I really liked about it was the way it was written. Ardith and Blair take turns telling their story and it is being told to a third party who is unknown until the very end of the book. The book was both heartwarming and tragic at the same time.
For anyone looking for a great, quick read, this is what you’re looking for! I definitely recommend.