Love and Other Perishable Items by Lauren Buzo
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
Teen, Ages 14+
ARC copy used for review.
Personal Ranking 3 out of 5
Love is awkward.
Fifteen old Amelia has just started her first job at a grocery store jokingly referred to by her cute co-worker as the Land of Dreams. The longer she works with Chris the quicker she realizes that her feelings for him are starting to become more than "just a crush." He seems to enjoy talking with her and joking with her at work. The more time they spend together, the more it seems like they really are becoming friends; and maybe more than that. So whats the problem? Chris is a 21 year old university student, just working at the store while he completes his last year of college. Amelia knows it could never happen, but that doesn't stop her from experiencing a year of firsts that will change her life.
While this story was predominately told from Amelia's point of view, the closer she and Chris become, the more her narrative is interspersed with his journal entries. She is at an all girls school, and is new to the world of boys. She is unsure of herself and has all the normal angst of a fifteen year old. Her rocky relationship with her dad doesn't help; and even though she can't imagine why her mom is married to him, she can't picture her life without him. Unlike her best friend's dad, who seems to be perfect. Amelia lacks a really solid male roll model in her life.
Chris seemed to me to be a typical, lost 21 year-old boy. Not sure of what he is supposed to be becoming, recovering from his first heartbreak, and trying to heal himself with any girl he can get his hands on. What attracts him to Amelia is that she seems more mature and not as whiny as the stereotypical girl, even those who are his own age. She is refreshing in a way he is drawn to, even if she is only 15. But when you are that young, age is a huge factor, even if you still manage to become friends. The story leaves you wondering where they will be in four years, or even eight years when she is graduating college herself. Sometimes you meet the right person at the wrong time, no matter how old you are.
One thing that is especially fun with this story is that it is set in Australia. I was lucky to spend 3 weeks between New Zealand and the east coast of Australia in 2002, and I absolutely loved every minute of it. Except for maybe the 14 hour plane ride there. So the dialect didn't phase me at all, but shouldn't be a problem for those who haven't been. I could see parents getting upset about the alcohol and party lifestyle depicted in the story, but it is important to remember that the drinking age is lower over there. Amelia does attend her first party, and as a result experiences her first hangover.
Over all, Love made me laugh, and I found myself wanting them to find a common ground. The story leaves you wondering where they will be in four years, or even eight years when she is graduating college herself. Sometimes you meet the right person at the wrong time, no matter how old you are.