March 10, 2014

Sweetness at the Supermarket

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

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.

So Quotable
"She even takes the goings-on of fictitious characters personally."

10 comments:

  1. I've had this sitting on my Kindle FOREVER and had forgotten it until I saw you had written on this today. I really need to carve out time to read it because I remember that there was some reason that I really wanted to read it a ton - probably that unattainable crush you mention? I often like those stories. At any rate, I have not read Holier Than Thou so I will have no basis for comparison - I wonder what my thoughts will be as compared to yours! Love your thoughts as always, H.

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    1. I'm glad my post helped remind you that you had it! I liked the unattainable crush aspect and difference in ages (since my husband is older and we've laughed about how different it is when you like someone older once you're in college versus when you're in high school). Would love to hear what you think of this one once you read!

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  2. Huh, I posted a review for this book today too! I liked it alot, but there were definately things that kept me from loving it. Maybe I should give Holier Than Thou a chance.

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    1. Haha that's too funny! I always laugh when I review the same book as someone on a certain day if it's an older title (since it's easy to do when I title is new and getting some buzz). I'm with you! I liked certain things and then was annoyed with others. Let me know what you think of Holier Than Thou if you do end up reading it!

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  3. But can we talk about how stinkin' cute that cover is?!

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    1. Oh, I KNOW. I looove this cover so much!

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  4. I seriously still have to read this book. The story interests me because the age gap that the two main characters have is the same one between me and my husband -- and I'd like to see how that gets portrayed in the novel! I've not yet read any Laura Buzo novel, but I definitely want to at some point.

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    1. I have a similar age gap with my husband! I won't say anything about how it plays out in this book until you've read it. And then we can discuss!

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  5. I liked this one more than you, Hannah, although it's not a perfect book. What I would REALLY like is to meet up with Amelia and Chris in say, 10 years. That would be an interesting book:) And now I think I really must get my hands on a copy of Holier Than Thou. It's been on my TBR but I think it's being bumped up :) Great review!

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    1. I can totally see why this one was getting buzz! I kept wondering if I would have loved it more if I wasn't comparing it to Holier Than Thou in my head. But who knows! I'm totally with you though - I would LOVE to catch back up with these two years later. I love how Buzo's ending are very open and not really resolved - leaves a lot to the imagination. And yes, read Holier Than Thou! SO GOOD.

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