Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
Published Knopf Books 2010
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: Kindle ebook
‘Miss Amelia Hayes, welcome to The Land of Dreams. I am the staff trainer. I will call you grasshopper and you will call me sensei and I will give you the good oil. Right? And just so you know, I’m open to all kinds of bribery.’
From the moment 15-year-old Amelia begins work on the checkout at Woolworths she is sunk, gone, lost…head-over-heels in love with Chris. Chris is the funny, charming, man-about-Woolies, but he’s 21, and the 6-year difference in their ages may as well be 100. Chris and Amelia talk about everything from Second Wave Feminism to Great Expectations and Alien but will he ever look at her in the way she wants him to? And if he does, will it be everything she hopes?
This was a total cover pick up. I was just looking for some cute young adult romance and this was the first thing that came up in the search results. I read the little summary and read it right away.
Amelia and Chris’ relationship is so confusing. There is a six year age difference, and it’s such a big time for both of them. One is in high school and the other is leaving college. Age gaps are always really hard to read about. As much as I loved the couple together, it was also hard knowing that it could never really happen. One thing I really liked about the book was how the alternative POVs were done – Amelia’s went first and then Chris’ all at once, in his journals. So you could see the same event happening from both people’s perspectives. Also, Amelia likes Chris a lot sooner than he likes her, so it’s fun to see that develop over time for both of them.
The story is really interesting. I read this book pretty quickly. Amelia is younger than all of her coworkers at the supermarket, so she has some adventures going to their parties with drinking and more adult problems. She also has some at home problems, that I was glad to see took a different turn than these types of problems normally take in young adult novels. Chris is dealing with some of these ‘adult problems,’ dealing with his friends moving away and getting married and finding jobs while he is still at work for a supermarket, not a steady income job. It’s hard to see him dealing with growing up as well, but in his own way. Both Chris and Amelia are stuck in a very similar position – being pressured to grow up.
The supermarket and all of the other coworkers also had very interesting stories that I enjoyed. This book is also set in Australia. I have never read a book set in Australia before this, so I really liked it! They have some different phrases and word order, but it was nothing too hard to figure out what was happening. Also I thought it was really funny how they have Christmas in the summer, so they all were sweating with the Santa hats on. There were some really cute touches. One thing that I wasn’t a huge fan of was all the classic literature references, especially how many spoilers for those classics were in the book. It’s a classic, so I wasn’t taken too much aback, but it was just hard to find the connections when I hadn’t read that particular classic yet. But Chris is a literature major and Amelia is dealing with high school reading, so it was a good discussion for them.
The end was really sad, but I liked the way everything tied together. It was overall a very satisfying conclusion. I would suggest this book to all of you interested in a fun, quirky contemporary with some great characters and a complex relationship!