Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Grade: 8 to 12
- Reading age: 12 to 18
Fifteen-year-old Sarah Greene's father—chef by day, camera buff by night—choked to death on a piece of steak. It was the best day of Sarah's life. But a year later, Sarah still struggles with the legacy of her father's abuse. While other girls her age are determined to find boyfriends and part-time jobs and dresses for the prom, Sarah is on a search-and-destroy mission: to find the shoe box containing her father's collection of kiddy porn. After a brief skirmish with the law, Sarah is sentenced to do community service hours at Camp Dog Gone Fun, a summer program for shelter dogs. With the love of a big goofy dog named Judy, the friendship of Sullivan, a guy with problems of his own, and the support of a few good adults, Sarah begins to understand her past and believe in a brighter future.
About the author
Heather Waldorf was born in Ottawa and raised in small-town Eastern Ontario. She now lives in Toronto with Moose, a twelve-year-old golden retriever. Heather is addicted to green tea, jigsaw puzzles, mystery novels and the tv show Bones. Also a lover of the great outdoors, she's never written a novel that doesn't, at some point, put the main character in a canoe. Heather has written several books for teen readers; Leftovers is her first book with Orca Book Publishers.
- Commended, CCBC Choices 2010 list
- Commended, Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year
- Commended, CCBC Best Books
- Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"
Excerpt: Leftovers (by (author) Heather Waldorf)
I make it to the flagpole second to last. No Poo Patrol for me. Not today. Today I draw the Grooming straw. Forget my own grooming; for three leisurely hours this morning, I'll be washing, drying, fluffing and brushing out the matted and dirt-encrusted coats of a dozen-odd dogs of questionable parentage. Not that my own parentage is anything to brag about.
"The characters are well fleshed out...The conclusion is cathartic and realistic, featuring layers of themes and character development that will hold reader's interests to the end."
"There is enough humour in the book to mitigate the tension when necessary, but Waldorf allows the tension to build nicely to the climax of the book. Leftovers is an excellent book... [that] draws readers in, taking them on a journey that is both sad and inspirational and always thought-provoking. Recommended."
"Waldorf's respect for her readers comes through not just in the words she puts on the page, but also in the ideas she allows readers to come up with on their own. Leftovers is a frank novel that asks the reader to come to grips with the central character's feelings of shame and guilt - the 'leftovers' of abuse that give the book its title."
Quill & Quire
"The revelation of Sarah's sexual abuse is very emotional, but not graphic in detail. This well-written novel handles a difficult topic well, and is comparable to Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak. Recommended."
Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group
"[Waldorf] did an excellent job portraying the emotions that a sexual abuse victim experiences. I found Sarah to be a very believable and sympathetic character...A really touching story."
Random Buzz: Teens at Random website
"[A] heartfelt and humor-filled story…Without being sentimental or judgmental, Waldorf manages to construct a compelling account of an adolescent struggling to find herself. It is beautifully written, a page-turner."
Canadian Teacher Magazine
"Leftovers really has it all – humor, reality, family drama, and a little bit of romance to satisfy all reader's interests."
"The atmosphere of the camp and Sarah's often humorous tone are particularly effective at conveying the story in a way not too bogged down in angst. This would be a good choice for teens with an interest in realistic fiction."
Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children's Media
"Waldorf does an excellent job of not allowing Sarah to become a one-dimensional victim; instead, Sarah's response to her abuse forms only one facet of her character...Deals with a challenging topic with tasteful humour and interesting characters that will appeal to older teenage readers. Highly recommended."
"A fluid, wonderful story of how you can learn to deal with your past and the power of unconditional love and acceptance... A great read for any teen."
What If? Magazine