Love and Other Perishable Items
by Laura Buzo
Publisher: Knopf/Random House
Genre: YA Contemporary
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
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, 15, 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 upLove and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo takes us into the minds and lives of two young people over the course of year. Buzo delivers humor, heartbreak and beautifully captures youth on the verge of adulthood in all of it awkward glory.
The tale begins when we meet Amelia a fifteen year old middle child who works at the local grocery. Her co-worker Chris is a twenty-one year old college student with an outgoing personality whom she secretly crushes on. The author takes us into both of their lives over the course of a year as she fleshes them out. We see a lot of firsts for Amelia and get to see things from Chris’s point of view making this an interesting tale. I would not call this a love story but a coming of age story.
I liked Amelia from the start, she is a bright and naïve "good" girl. She does not have a lot of “street cred” and is at times socially awkward, for instant she does know what a bowl is. Her crush on Chris is sweet, and the descriptions and fantasies she had were hilarious. Chris is exactly what you would expect a twenty-one year old boy to be. He is charming, aloof and still lives at home. He is still smarting from his break-up with his first love and longs for the perfect relationship. The prospect of finishing college and moving on with the next phase of his life scares him and I found his perspective interesting. The other employees added to the tale and were all at different phases in their lives with unique personalities.
I laughed at how they referred to the grocery store where they all work as “The Land of Dreams”. The relationship between Chris and Amelia is sweet and at times downright adorable. I loved their banter and her awkward blushes. There isn’t a lot of dialogue its more their perspectives and thoughts. We literally experience life through their eyes and I think that is what makes this so unique. The tale is first told through Amelia and then we slip back in time to see it through Chris’s eyes. Some may argue that not a lot happens, but I think the author beautifully depicted youth for a lot of us and her message was special. While we do not get any real closure at the end Buzo does give us hope.
I would recommend Love and Other Perishable Items to fans of coming of age stories. While I didn’t flip over this, I certainly appreciated and enjoyed it. I laughed and thought back to my own firsts. Buzo’s writing style was unique and I enjoyed this first Australian author read.
I want to thank Random House for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.
Three cups of Outback coffee out of five
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