Published: December 11th, 2012 (first published August 1st, 2010)
Love and Other Perishable Items (Original published as, 'Good Oil')
By: Laura Buzo
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Love is awkward, Amelia should know.
From the moment she sets eyes on Chris, she is a goner. Lost. Sunk. Head over heels infatuated with him. It's problematic, since Chris, 21, is a sophisticated university student, while Amelia, is 15.
Amelia isn't stupid. She knows it's not gonna happen. So she plays it cool around Chris—at least, as cool as she can. Working checkout together at the local supermarket, they strike up a friendship: swapping life stories, bantering about everything from classic books to B movies, and cataloging the many injustices of growing up. As time goes on, Amelia's crush doesn't seem so one-sided anymore. But if Chris likes her back, what then? Can two people in such different places in life really be together?
Through a year of befuddling firsts—first love, first job, first party, and first hangover—debut author Laura Buzo shows how the things that break your heart can still crack you up.
So, I'm just going to dive right into this one, starting with the different covers of this book. The first one if for the German edition and I think it's beautiful. It doesn't really represent the book accurately though. The second cover was the original one from Australia and it annoys me. That cover model looks NOTHING like the main character of the book! Nothing at all! And she also looks like she's a college student and if Amelia was one, there wouldn't be a book most likely. The third is the American cover, which also has a new title for the book itself. I like the new title and the cover fits it very well - plus it latches onto the story nicely as the two main characters work in a grocery store. So for once the American reprint has the better cover in my opinion - how the Hell did that happen? I went into this one not knowing what to expect exactly. I am not normally a fan of YA Aussie Lit. Usually it just doesn't register the same way with me that the U.S. and British YA (and even then only sometimes for the latter, not always) do. It's probably because I don't get the slang and I am lazy and picky about stuff like that. The 'romance' between Amelia and Chris was taboo for a reason. What college student in his right mind would date a fifteen year old? What could they possibly have in common after all, other than sharing the same job? Yes, Amelia reminds Chris of his youth and a younger version of himself, but for most of the book he comes across as a very outgoing, friendly, pathetic drunkard who is wasting his life aimlessly. He goes to university, but obviously only does it because he 'should' and not cause he has any real desire to do so. Amelia's friend, has it right in the end that she shouldn't wait for him.
I liked Amelia a lot as a character. She was smart, funny and very innocent (but not in the annoying, Mary-Sueish way a lot of YA heroines are). But the sticking point on me loving her was her lack of common sense when it came to Chris. First love or not (debatable), Amelia put herself in some majorly stupid situations to fit in with his friends and be more like a girl he'd want. The alternating narrative between Chris and Amelia gives extra insight into each of their reasoning for pursuing/not pursuing the other. I still disliked Chris by the end and found him to be morally lacking, and devoid of swoon. But maybe a relationship between a fifteen year old and a twenty-two year old just squicks me out. Overall, a good read and the ending was realistic in a good way. It was a very well-written and thought out novel. As a coming of age story, it's definitely a win. But not one I'd recommend for everyone and it won't be a re-read.
VERDICT: 3.75/5 Stars
*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published in the U.S. on December 11th, 2012.*