Happy Release Day to C.C. Payne! Her book, The Thing About Leftovers, comes out today!
Fizzy is a good Southern girl who just wants to be perfect. And win the Southern Living cook-off. The being perfect part is hard though, since her parents’ divorced and everything in her life has changed. Wary of her too-perfect stepmom and her mom’s neat-freak, dismissive boyfriend, she’s often angry or upset and feels like a guest in both homes. She tells herself to face facts: She’s a “leftover” kid from a marriage that her parents want to forget. But she has to keep all of that to herself, because a good Southern girl never yells, or throws fits, or says anything that might hurt other people’s feelings—instead she throws her shoulders back, says yes ma’am, and tries to do better. So Fizzy tries her best, but it’s hard to stay quiet when her family keeps getting more complicated. Fortunately, the Southern Living cook-off gives her a welcome distraction, as do her new friends Miyoko and Zach, who have parent issues of their own.
“Fizzy’s first-person narration is by turns hilarious and poignant as she struggles to find her voice. . . . The subjects of divorce and middle school drama are well handled. Tween readers will appreciate this gentle read as they empathize with Fizzy’s feelings of inadequacy and root for her success.”—School Library Journal
“Payne provides plenty of realistic detail here about Fizzy’s slowly evolving relationships with her parents, stepparents, and new friends. . . . Her growth feels authentic and her progress well-earned. Readers experiencing family challenges of their own will laugh and cry with Fizzy, rejoicing as she cooks up quite the satisfying new life for herself.”—Kirkus Reviews
The Bottom Line:
The editor of this book sent me a copy of the ARC. She thought I might like it, as I’m a southern girl like Fizzy. The problem? My 13 year old grabbed it and wouldn’t give it back! She LOVED Fizzy and her friends. When I finally got a chance to read it for myself, I could understand why. Fizzy is going through some hard stuff, her parent’s divorce, her new step-mother, her mom’s decision to remarry, but Payne tells it all with grace and lots and lots of humor. Fizzy’s voice is authentic and kids will absolutely relate to her musings.
“Here’s the thing about leftovers: Nobody is ever excited about them; they’re just something you have to deal with. No matter how hard you try, leftovers are never exactly what they used to be – and I’m not either. If you ignore them or forget about them, they start to stink, and if you try to serve them alongside a freshly made meal, they never fit in quite right – do you want leftover spaghetti with your fajitas?”
This is a terrific book that is sure to please students and teachers alike. Enjoy!
The Thing About Leftovers is available to purchase HERE.