Review: Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

Love and Other Perishable ItemsTitle: Love and Other Perishable Items

Author: Laura Buzo

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Release Date: December 11th, 2012

Interest: 2012 Debut Author / Contemp / Aussie YA

Source: Purchased

Summary (From Goodreads):

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, 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.

I hope Laura Buzo is working on another YA novel and publishing it in the United States soon.  Love and Other Perishable Items is a smart and sweet literary debut that I can’t wait to recommend to my students.

I love character driven novels and the development of Amelia and Chris did not disappoint.  Amelia is a well-written 15 year old, and I think I’m a good judge of this considering I teach sophomores all day long.  She’s smart, awkward, confused, and sometimes very self-involved.  Watching her grow into herself really made Love and Other Perishable Items an enjoyable experience because even when she said and did some cringe-worthy things, I could see her learning from it.  I didn’t expect to read from Chris’s point of view, but I’m so happy Laura Buzo gave us his perspective.  Since he’s so much older and more experienced than Amelia, it’s good to see how he’s reacting and what he’s really feeling.  I love his journals and how brutally honest he is in them.  It wasn’t too long ago that I was 21 and wondering how my life was going to turn out.  Like Chris, I contemplated life after college and whether my degree was right for me.  It doesn’t seem like six years is that wide an age gap, but the differences in experiences and feelings and thoughts between ages 15 and 21 are vast.  It was so smart for Laura Buzo to let us see Chris from more than Amelia’s eyes.

Love and Other Perishable Items is, I think, for “smart” readers.  And I mean that in terms of readers looking for something more literary and maybe something that will make them think.  I plan on handing this to my John Green fans.  I think fans of Arlaina Tibensky’s And Then Things Fall Apart would enjoy this book as well.  It’s full of wit and humor, but the lack of major conflict in Chris and Amelia’s lives may make some readers question the point.  I’ve faced this when my YA Lit students read Looking for Alaska; some complain that nothing happens and all they do is talk (in the Before).  The readers who “get” this will appreciate Laura Buzo’s book.  Some of them, I hope, will be drawn to read the classics Chris and Amelia read and discuss.  I do feel the need to add, since many of my readers work with middle school students, that this is a book for high school students.  Sex is discussed in a mature way, not so much explicitly, but in a way that mature readers would understand.

I can this being a “quiet” book in terms of the amount of hype it receives, so I’m really excited that Love and Other Perishable Items is a William C. Morris shortlist book.  Like I said, it’s a strong debut, so I hope it receives more attention and a larger audience.  I know I’m happy I read it 🙂

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