The Thing About Leftovers

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by C.C. Payne

Nancy Paulsen Books / Penguin

July 19, 2016

C. C. Payne intertwines heartache with humor and hope in a novel about navigating divorce and blended families, following your passion, and celebrating who you are.
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.

With the poignancy and humor of Joan Bauer and Lynda Mullaly Hunt, this poignant story reminds readers that they have a right to a voice, that it is okay to say how you feel, and that some leftovers are absolutely delicious!

wheel #1 New Release

wheel “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

wheel “Tween readers will appreciate this gentle read as they empathize with Fizzy’s feelings of inadequacy and root for her success.” —School Library Journal

wheel “Payne’s characters give such interesting perspectives from “leftover kids” that it may inspire some readers to reinspect their own relationships. The plot and characters are bluntly realistic, and Fizzy’s story should resonate with those looking for their place in a newly blended family.” —Booklist

wheel “With some really solid emotional insights and an energetic, engaging style, this will enlighten middle-school readers trying to sort through the complexities of family situations they didn’t ask for but need grace to deal with nonetheless.” —BCCB

wheel “A fun read about a serious topic. Blended families are prevalent. . . . Learning to adjust to step-parents’ idiosyncrasies can be daunting. . . . Children of blended families will relate to Fizzy’s thoughts and emotions. A thought-provoking read for parents and children alike.”—Voice of Youth Advocates

wheel “A well-written YA novel about a girl—Fizzy—trying to figure out how to navigate her newly blended family after her parents’ divorce. … Offers an empathetic view of a child adjusting to a changed family.” —Louisville Courier-Journal