- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (December 11, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375870008
- ISBN-13: 978-0375870002
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 69 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,236,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Love and Other Perishable Items Hardcover – December 11, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9-11-Sensitive and intelligent Amelia Hayes, 15, takes an after-school job at a local supermarket, and the minute she meets university student Chris, who trains her to work the checkout, she's a goner. Alas, it's a mostly one-sided infatuation. Amelia wants romance with the charming 21-year-old, but he is mourning a failed relationship and sees Amelia only as a bright and funny "youngster." Over the course of a year, her cringe-worthy crush persists, although she tries valiantly to hide it from Chris and the rest of the supermarket crew, all of whom are quirky and deserve books of their own. Chris is busy working too many hours and trying to avoid graduating and getting a real job by extending his coursework to include a second major. It's abundantly clear that if there weren't such a dramatic age difference, the genuine friendship between Chris and Amelia could have morphed into a heavy-duty romance, and this makes her plight even more painful. The author captures all of the conflicting emotions of both characters by telling the story through Amelia's eyes as well as through some of Chris's journal entries, which provide background information about his failed love affair, his relationship with his family and friends, and his ambivalence about his future. There is quite a lot of underage drinking and some funny discussions of pot use. The realistic conclusion is a bit open-ended, which lends hope that there will be a sequel.-Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The hot topic of romance on the job is at the center of this debut novel. Working at the checkout in her local supermarket in Sydney, Australia, 15-year-old Amelia has a crush on her handsome supervisor, college student Christopher. He likes the youngster, and they talk about classic books, movies, and more; but he is in love with fellow worker Michaela. Or is his obsession with his supervisor, Kathy? With a big cast, this novel from Australia takes on just about everything, mainly in Amelia’s first-person, present-tense narrative, with a few detours into Chris’ long notebook entries and letters. Woven around the romance plots are issues about feminism today: yes, mom can work, but why does she still have to do all the housework? What will hold teens most is the charged, authentic, and awkward social scene at work. Amelia is not popular: is it because she refuses to cozy? The realistic situations and questions will stay with readers. Grades 9-12. --Hazel Rochman
Top customer reviews
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Buzo somehow manages to weave together two disparate realms of experience: the high school feeling when you suddenly become giddily aware of the complexity of the world around you, making you feel more "adult," as evinced in Amelia, our 15 year old protagonist, and the early 20s feeling of uncertainty as you become an unequivocal adult with legitimate responsibilities, a period captured through the struggles of Chris, a college senior who serves as the second POV character in this novel. So whether you're on the younger or older side of Young Adult, there are ideas here for any reader to attach onto, ideas that will recall the reader's own personal experience. As a result, both characters, though deeply flawed, are loveable, because it is difficult not to project our own tribulations of adolescence and early adulthood upon them. To me, this personability of the characters, this ability to see ourselves in them, is one of the novel's greatest strengths.
An equally strong point is the novel's focus on social justice. I read that author Laura Buzo works as a social worker in addition to writing, and her career experience clearly shines through the novel. I was enraptured by Chris and Amelia's intelligent (but never pretentious!) discussions about the role of feminism in the 21st century, the unsatisfying conclusions to classic novels such as The Great Gatsby and Great Expectations, and the failure to recognize conditions of poverty in our own backyards. At its core, Love and Other Perishable Items is a book about romance, but it is much more smart and thoughtful than typical romantic fare yet it manages to maintain a (mostly) lighthearted tone. It's totally approachable for all readers; some will adore the love story, others will enjoy the realistic depiction of these distinctly tumultuous life stages, and others will appreciate the sociological criticism within these pages.
Of course, I loved Love and Perishable Items for all of these reasons, as I expect most readers will. Highly recommended for anyone desiring a bit of young adult nostalgia in the form of a book that is both melancholy and hopeful
Now, I personally can't say anything against relationships that span a significant age difference. My husband is 12 years older than myself. That means he was a senior in high school when I was in first grade. He was driving unsupervised when I was 4. We met when I was barely 18 and he was just turning 30. But compared to his sister who's husband is 20 years older than her, our age difference isn't so bad either.) It's all relative. But it's true that 15 is VERY young and while the 6 year age gap between Amelia and Chris might not be a problem when she's 20 and he's 26, there's quite a gap between 15 and 21 (just as there's quite a gap between 4 and 16 or 6 and 18).
As you can imagine, things don't always go as Amelia hopes and plans. At the beginning of the book, I remember thinking that she sounded very young and immature, and still throughout the book there were moments when her age really shined through like this towering beacon.
Upon finishing Love and Other Perishable Items, I was tempted to question whether I'd just wasted the last day and a half reading this. But ultimately I settled upon no. While Love and Other Perishable Items probably won't stand out to me as an epic read that I must return to over and over, it was a nice take on coming of age, growing up, and first crushes that are easily mistaken for love.
I will note that Chris's abundance in the use of alcohol, drugs, and other general maleness was quite annoying to my 26 year old self. 15 year old me would have probably been in love with him too (as sad as that is to say).
I'm giving Love and Other Perishable Items 3.5 stars. Have you read Love and Other Perishable Items? If so, what did you think? Let me know!