Release Date: December 2012 (originally January 2010)
Publisher: Random House | Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 243 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Paperback
Amazon | Goodreads
Summary (from Goodreads)
"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?
Brief Thoughts on Love and Other Perishable Items
Unlike a lot of U.S. readers, I actually read Buzo's novel Holier Than Thou long before this one. I did a book swap with the kind and lovely Mandee, which is how I was able to read it since it hasn't been published in the U.S. yet. Anyway, I liked Love and Other Perishable Items (published as Good Oil in Australia) but didn't enjoy it the way I did Holier Than Thou. I never reviewed Holier Than Thou for some reason, which is too bad because I can't even tell you what I liked better about it!
I really enjoyed the main character, Amelia Hayes, and liked spending time with her. She's got a lot of growing up left to do but is also mature for her age in other respects. I liked that about her! There's an intensity to her that felt unique, and I appreciated that she seemed like a realistic teenager while also being a bit different from her peers. Chris, on the other hand, kind of frustrated me. But, at the same time, I liked that Amelia sees on side of him and there's another side that's revealed through his journal entries. Both characters had depth and complexity.
I found myself smiling at the way the book depicted having a crush on someone who is unattainable for some reason. In this case, it's due to age. There is just something about those hopeless crushes, and I felt Buzo really captured the emotion well. Those aspects to the story - the wanting someone you can't have, the feelings you can develop without really knowing someone that well - totally worked for me. And I liked the ending being open-ended. Buzo did something similar in Holier Than Thou, which I definitely remembered when I finished this one.
So why is it just okay for me? I can't quite put my finger on it. It was fun and cute, but it also seemed like nothing really happened. It's a very dialogue-heavy book, and I think I needed just a bit more to really fall in love with the book. It seemed like there wasn't anything really driving the story. I kept thinking about how I felt about Holier Than Thou while I reading this one, and it just came up a bit short in comparison.
"She even takes the goings-on of fictitious characters personally."