I'm thrilled to have The Thing About Leftovers Blog Tour stopping by today...
The Thing About Leftovers
by C.C. Payne
July 19, 2016
Nancy Paulsen Books
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!
“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
Tween and aspiring chef, Fizzy, is starting to feel like a leftover in her complicated family. Both of her divorced parents are in new relationships, her dad having married an intimidatingly perfect woman and her mother’s neat-freak-standoffish boyfriend, soon to be husband. Fizzy has so many bubbly emotions inside her -anger, confusion, fear- but like any good Southern girl, she keeps them to herself. But a few new friends and a once-in-a lifetime cooking contest help Fizzy find her voice and sift through all her “leftover” thoughts.
C.C. Payne’s The Thing About Leftovers is a poignant, sweet, and equally heartwarming and heartbreaking middle-grade contemporary. Payne explores the world and mind of a “leftover” kid with age appropriate honesty and humor. Fizzy’s story is bursting with so many palpable emotions and Payne weaves a complex story that has depth, heart, and charm.
Fizzy has such a great, irresistible voice! She’s so relatable, likable, and impossible to not root for...I just wanted to wrap her up in a big hug and let her know that everything is going to be ok. Payne does a wonderful job of creating equally complex and flawed adult characters, as well. And Miyoko and Zach are superb characters...I would love to see spin-offs that tell their own unique stories!
My final thoughts: The Thing About Leftovers will charm readers with its characters, keep them engaged, and leave them hopeful (and a bit hungry!). A great read for young readers, especially those that have ever felt like a “leftover”.
What three words best describe your book, The Thing About Leftovers?
Heartbreaking, humorous, hopeful.
Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give The Thing About Leftovers a try?
Who can’t relate to characters in search of love and belonging, while stuck in the war zone of middle school, doing battle with awkwardness, hormonal mood swings, pimples, mean girls, wildfire-gossip, and adults who just don’t seem to understand?
Grab a copy of The Thing About Leftovers and answer the following:
Favorite chapter? I love the first chapter, because it captures the horrors of both the lunchroom and P.E.
Favorite page? I’ll say 88, because it explains leftover meals and “leftover kids.”
Favorite setting? Aunt Liz’s buttery kitchen.
Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser: Miyoko stepped in front of the bathroom mirror and leaned over the sink to inspect a pimple on her nose. “It’s grown since I left the house,” she reported. “And it has an eyeball! A big white eyeball! Ugh!” She touched the blemish. “And it’s throbbing! I think it has a heartbeat!” She turned from the mirror. “Fizzy, I think I’m growing another person on my nose!”
What inspired The Thing About Leftovers? How did the story come to be?
Fizzy’s voice has been in my head for nine years now. When she first popped up and started talking, I wasn’t ready—as a stepkid or as a writer. But as I began discussing blended families with other grown stepkids, stepparents, and parents, it struck me that we all want exactly the same things: love, belonging, family. So I sat down and let Fizzy tell her story.
Can you tell us a bit about your character, Fizzy? What makes her unique and what do you love about her?
She’s unique in that at the age of twelve, she’s already discovered one of her great passions—cooking—and she knows where she wants to go with that. At the same time, she hardly has her life together—far from it! I love her honesty about the way she sees herself and others, and I love her lists!
Fizzy is quite the chef and prepares an assortment of food...do you have a favorite recipe or dish from The Thing About Leftovers?
I love my Mimi’s cheese grits, but as my Aunt Nancy says, “Don’t have your cholesterol checked after eating them!”
What do you hope readers will learn from or walk away with after reading The Thing About Leftovers?
I hope they know they’re not alone, not unworthy, not unlovable.
What’s the absolute BEST thing about an author?
I think writing different characters and looking at situations from all those different perspectives nurtures empathy and compassion for people. I’m more capable of slipping into someone else’s shoes and perspective mentally.
Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at Zumba!
I’m really embarrassed to admit that I’d secretly LOVE to have a Snuggy . . . but fear my husband’s reaction!
The last great book I read was All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr—talk about empathy and compassion!
If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Thing About Leftovers, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
I’d call it “Complimentary,” because it wouldn’t be something you ordered; it would come free with something else that you actually wanted and ordered. It would be light brown and look like a normal milk-chocolatey cupcake—nothing special. But once you’re into it, its salted caramel flavor would be a salty, sweet, satisfying and lovable surprise!
C. C. Payne (www.ccpayne.net) was born and raised in Kentucky by a family chock-full of superb storytellers. At the age of seven, she became a voracious reader. She says, “The house could’ve fallen down around my ears, and I would’ve just thought, Does this mean I have to put my book down?” She also wrote Something to Sing About, which was nominated for a Children’s Crown Award and a Kentucky Bluegrass Award, and Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom & the Challenges of Bad Hair.
Win a copy of
The Thing About Leftovers!
The folks at Penguin have generously offered one copy for one winner.
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes
Fill out Rafflecopter to entera Rafflecopter giveaway