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 up.
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I think Amelia did learn a lot from her friendship with Chris. Chris is very book smart and has a great understanding of literature. He and Amelia have some great conversations about books. In my opinion, Amelia has a somewhat naive view of the world. I'm all for fairness and equality but some of her thoughts on feminism seemed over the top. Again, just my opinion. I hope that if we saw these characters 4 or 5 years down the road that we would see them both more mature and happy with their families and personal lives. I'm not sure that I would want to see them together in a romantic relationship but I would like to see them as good friends that are able to to talk, share, and laugh together.
This book takes place in Australia, so some of the language may seem different to you. This is not a reason to stay away from this book but it is different. If you want a happy, everything tied up in a pretty bow kind of book then this is not the one for you. I think this book is less about falling in love and more about finding yourself.
Of course, like any young girl who garners the attention of a strapping young uni student of the male persuasion, Amelia soon finds herself absolutely smitten with Chris. However, she isn’t delusional enough to think that he could ever return her affections, especially with him constantly making lustful comments about other girls around her. But then, when he revels in her musings, buys her flowers, and says things like, ‘If you were two years older, I’d be going out with you.’ how is a love-struck teenager supposed to do anything other than contemplate what they could be like together beyond friendship?
My Thoughts: Chris and Amelia’s first meeting goes like the following:
”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 share with you what I know. Right? And just so you know, I’m open to all kinds of bribery.”
I immediately smiled and settled in, just knowing that this was the book that I could fall in love with quickly.
I adored Amelia from the get-go. Though mature as far as her take on life and all its inequalities, when it came to social graces, she was a bit of a fumbling disaster. With her naivety, love of books, and social awkwardness, she reminded me what it was like to be a teenage girl with starry eyes focused on a guy much too old for you and how you’ll do or say just about anything to walk a bit in their world when it’s so far removed from your own.
Chris buys a six-pack of beer on the way to Rino’s.
“Special treat,” he says, parting with a twenty-dollar bill. “You like beer, don’t you?”
I hate beer. Hate it. “Yeah!”
Oh, well. Love is pain. Or is it beauty is pain? I wouldn’t know about the latter, but the former makes my sternum ache.
I loved her perspective on books and characters, but most importantly, I enjoyed her view on feminism and how it made me think about my own.
Special Notes: There is a lot of references to alcohol and drug use as well as sexual content. If that isn’t your thing, this book might not be the one for you.
Verdict: I was a bit disappointed in the ending. Not necessarily because these two kids go their separate ways, but rather because it was left so wide open. With all the references to Dickens writing an alternate ending to Great Expectations where Pip and Estella meet later in life, I guess I thought maybe the same would happen here with a short epilogue of sorts. That perhaps Chris and Amelia would meet some years down the road and either A) remember the months of camaraderie they shared together and be satisfied with that or B) maybe find love now. Yet, neither happened, and so if you like your stories tied up in neat little bows, you’d probably be a little miffed about where this one ends.
I think Australian lit is an acquired taste and while Melina Marchetta sits comfortably on her Aussie throne, I believe if you enjoy her work that you’ll certainly find Love and Other Perishable Items to be a good read.
*Note: An e-ARC of this title was provided by Knopf Books for Young Readers via Net Galley. However, that did not influence my review in any way.
Amelia showed us a young and impressionable mind but a setting one at that. I like that she had other interests and that she wanted to think for herself. As for Chris, getting in his mind was also entertaining. Seeing what he dealt with and how he processed things, as well as how he actually saw Amelia compared to how she thought he saw her.
I also like how this book captured being young and in love, especially in a love that you know you can't have.
You could see Amelia growing and learning in front of your eyes, and the character development was great to watch.
While this wasn't my favorite contemporary it was a pleasant enough read.