Review: Leftovers, by Stella Newman

Leftovers cover“According to a magazine, Susie is a ‘Leftover’ – a post Bridget-Jones 30 something who has neither her dream man, job, nor home. She doesn’t even own six matching dinner plates.

According to her friend Rebecca, Susie needs to get over her ex, Jake, start online dating – or at least stop being so rude to every guy who tries to chat her up.

But Susie’s got a plan. If she can just make it the 307 days till her promotion and bonus, she can finally quit and pursue her dream career in food, then surely everything else will fall into place. If only her love life wasn’t so complicated…”

This was a book that I got for all of 50p in a WHSmiths book clearance section. Not the sort of thing I’d usually go for, but, in all honesty, I needed another book to make up the ‘4 for £2’ offer they had going on.

And, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Susie, the protagonist, is a thirty-six year old woman stuck in a job she doesn’t like (but she WILL be promoted by Christmas, and then she can quit…), with an ex-boyfriend she’s still hung up on, and possibly a bottle too many of wine added to her weekly alcohol intake. Susie just wants to get through this year, get her promotion, quit, and pursue a career she actually likes. And maybe get a boyfriend, too.

There were times when I got really frustrated with Susie, but most of the time, I sympathised with her. She seemed to have the job from hell, but I understood why she wanted to stick it out just long enough to get her promotion. And, I loved the way she came into her own at the end of the book and really took charge of her life.

I also loved Susie’s passion for food. Mostly pasta. You can’t go wrong with a good pasta dish. And I loved Susie’s whole ‘there’s a pasta for every occasion’ mantra. It really gave the story something extra that set it apart, for me.

And as for Susie’s love life… Don’t get me wrong, I totally got where she was coming from, but sometimes she felt a little too ‘woe-is-me’, considering there were half a dozen different guys interested in her through the course of the book.

Then there was Sam. From the moment Sam, the cute guy in the mail room, is introduced, I was rooting for him and Susie to be together. I was disappointed that there weren’t more interactions with these two – I felt there really could’ve been more of a build up of their relationship.

That said, I did enjoy the book a lot. I felt it flowed well and had a good pace to it, the characters were dynamic, realistic, and interesting, and I found it really refreshing that the story wasn’t solely focused on Susie finding the man of her dreams. That was more of a secondary storyline to her coming into her own and taking control of her life and her career. I’ll definitely be looking out for Stella Newman’s other novel, Pear Shaped!

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