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Leftovers by Heather Waldorf
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Leftovers

by Heather Waldorf

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3710306,014 (3.85)2
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Reviewed by Tasha for TeensReadToo.com

In most cases, when a father dies, their daughter would be distraught, but in Sarah Greene's case relief floods over her. With his death, it means that there will be no more chances for her father to abuse her and take pictures. Along with the relief, though, comes a nagging feeling due to a still-hidden shoebox in her father's old restaurant filled with questionable photos that she is determined to destroy.

When her desperation to find the box hits an all-time high, she takes her mother's car and crashes it - landing her in a whole heap of trouble with the law. Her punishment: doing summer-long community service at Camp Dog Gone, where shelter dogs go for a vacation.

While at "camp," Sarah befriends a big romping dog named Judy - who is just as troubled as Sarah - another troubled soul, Sullivan, and several other people who help her turn her life around slowly but surely. As she comes to realize what is important in her life, she breaks out of her shell that the past created and starts to heal, looking towards a brighter future.

This book is unlike any that I have read before. It takes a dark subject - sexual abuse - and turns it into a journey of healing. Using a fun background, the author explores the hurt that accompanies abuse and how other people (or animals, in this case) help to heal. The plot turned out to be really cute and I loved the setting with all of the dogs running around.

The characters were also quite interesting. Sarah was so guarded that at times it was hard to see who she really was, but as the end of the book approached it was neat to see her personality really unfold. I also really like Sullivan. He seemed like such a happy-go-lucky kind of guy until you found out about his secrets, which made him very realistic. Another aspect that really stood out to me was the characterization of the dogs. Each had their own unique personality that made the reader feel as if they were curled up at their own feet.

LEFTOVERS really has it all - humor, reality, family drama, and a little bit of romance to satisfy all reader's interests. It was a great book that I really enjoyed and urge you all to go out and pick up a copy for yourself. ( )
  GeniusJen | Mar 10, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This one wasn't quite as intense as I'd expected -- one of its core themes is sexual abuse -- and I found the author's treatment of this theme a little too light. However, the story was compelling. Taking place on a small island in the St. Lawrence River (close to Ottowa, Ontario), this is the story of Sarah Greene, who, after stealing and crashing her mom's boyfriend's car, is sentenced to community service at Camp Dog Gone Fun, a charity that treats misfit dogs to a summer of leisure. What her the judge, her fellow campers, and even her mother and her boyfriend, Tanner, don't know is that the reason she freaked out was that having her picture taken freaks her out. So when Tanner got out his brand new digital camera and asked Sarah to smile, all she could think of was the "secret" nude photos her dad had been taking of her up until he choked on a piece of steak and died. At the camp, though, Sarah throws herself into the work, cooking meals for her fellow delinquents and fin ding companionship not only in her special project -- a wild, enormous pup named Judy -- but also in Sullivan, the director's stepson. If she lets herself, this could be the summer that allows Sarah to heal, and her unexpected friendships with everyone at Camp Dog Gone Fun -- four-legged and biped alike, might just get her through. While I would have liked to see more grit in the story, LEFTOVERS ultimately makes a painful story of sexual abuse more accessible for readers who might not otherwise pick it up. Dog lovers will appreciate the canine hijinx and stories of rehabilitation, and Sarah's wacky sense of humor and conversational narrative shine a light at the end of the tunnel. This is a lovely, fast read that will find a place in the hearts of many young readers. ( )
  EKAnderson | Feb 4, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Sarah's not the kind of girl you generally find doing community service. She's smart, she gets good grades, and she's never caused a lick of trouble until the night she smashed her mother's boyfriend's camera, stole his car, and totaled it.

Now she's working off her debt to society at Camp Dog Gone Fun. What started out as a chore becomes work she loves, with an exuberant bear of a dog named Judy and a sweet-as-a-puppy guy named Sullivan to get involved with. But Sarah's dark secrets are all simmering under the surface, and it's only a matter of time before she can't hide them any more.

In general, this was a quietly moving book about sexual abuse, coming to terms and then overcoming. Besides Sarah, most of the characters were pretty thin, but Sarah herself is richly drawn and because most of the change and development is in her, I found I didn't mind the interchangeable secondary and tertiary characters so much.

One thing I could really, really have done without was the stream of dog-related puns, all prefaced with "as we say here at Camp Dog Gone Fun." Once or twice, from one goofy character, would have been funny, but it was overdone. That's my one nitpick with an otherwise well-written and absorbing novel.
  mosylu1 | Dec 9, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I’m so happy to have a book about dealing with past sexual abuse that isn’t so graphic that I can’t hand it to teens. The abuse is thoughtfully and tastefully presented, in fact, some kids may not be aware that something like that could be abuse, but it definitely is. There was obviously research done and well utilized.
The character of Sarah is well drawn, as are the real and very funny characters at the dog camp and the dogs have their own distinct characters. I enjoyed this book, and any teen that loves dogs will adore it. It could also help kids who have been abused find peace. ( )
  ealaindraoi | Aug 3, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really liked this book. Although, it deals with some really tough subjects... sexual abuse and child pornography, it is hopeful and has a positive message. I think it is definitely for older ya reader's (9-12 grades). I was puzzled about how the ends would tie up, but the author makes a realistic and positive uplifting conclusion. I would have like to see some reference to therapy for Sarah near the end of the book. I would recommend this book to teens! ( )
  christyhb | Aug 3, 2009 |
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An unruly dog and a scrawny teenage cancer survivor help Sarah begin to recover from years of sexual abuse.

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