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Love and Other Perishable Items

Love and Other Perishable Items

3.3 12
by Laura Buzo

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Love is awkward, as fans of Rainbow Rowell and E. Lockhart well know. Funny and heartbreaking in equal measure, this grocery store romance was a Morris Award Finalist for Best YA debut.

"Smart, honest and full of achingly real characters. And it made me laugh. What else would you want in a book?" —Melina Marchetta, Printz Award-winning


Love is awkward, as fans of Rainbow Rowell and E. Lockhart well know. Funny and heartbreaking in equal measure, this grocery store romance was a Morris Award Finalist for Best YA debut.

"Smart, honest and full of achingly real characters. And it made me laugh. What else would you want in a book?" —Melina Marchetta, Printz Award-winning author

From the moment Amelia 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.

"A sweet and scathingly funny love story." —Kirkus, Starred Review

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set over the course of a year, Buzo's debut, first published in Australia, tracks 15-year-old Amelia as she pines over Chris, a boy six years her senior, who works the checkout with her at a supermarket in New South Wales. Amelia knows that a relationship with Chris is probably impossible, but she can't get him out of her head. From the beginning, Buzo underscores the idea that Chris and Amelia are simply at different stages of their lives (a line Chris even uses on Amelia at one point). Chapters told from Amelia's perspective are all about Chris, even as she vents her frustrations about her parents' relationship and feeling young and naïve. Conversely, Amelia barely warrants a mention in Chris's chapters, diary entries in which he mopes over being dumped by the love of his life and details partying with friends at university. Throughout, readers see how little Amelia really knows about Chris, a powerful bit of dramatic irony. It's a believable and often funny portrait of the messy relationship between a starry-eyed but sharp-witted teenager and a young man stumbling his way into adulthood. Ages 14–up. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
Kirkus Reviews Best of Teen's Books 2012

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2012:
“A sweet and scathingly funny love story. . . . The exactly right conclusion eschews easy resolution, though there’s plenty of hope as they flounder into the future.”

"Smart, honest and full of achingly real characters. And it made me laugh. What else would you want in a book?" —Melina Marchetta, Printz Award-winning author of Jellicoe Road

Booklist, 2012:
"Charged, authentic, and awkward . . . The realistic situations and questions will stay with readers."

Children's Literature - Elisabeth Greenberg
Amelia works as a clerk in a grocery store, and she finds herself in a maelstrom of teen emotions and peer relationships that push her to define who she is and what she wants. Aiding her in this personal journey is Chris, an older male who shares Amelia's fascination with literature, but is not quite sure to do about her crush on him. He suffers from his own unrequited love issues. As Amelia explores her fascination with Chris and her discomfort with her parents' relationship, she begins to understand why she feels so awkward around the other people in the grocery store. She is too young and shy to visit a pub with the older crowd, but she ends up buzzed and almost seduced by a boy she does not even like at a co-worker's party. Fortunately, Chris breaks it up, but then Amelia feels even worse about herself. She is having difficulties with her best friend, who is beginning to be interested in boys her age, and with her sister, who is away at university and has grown out of the fun sister relationship they used to have. Alone and lonely, Amelia feels ignored by Chris for three months before he calls to say he is moving out of the country and invites her to his going away party. She finally listens to her Mother's wisdom. When Chris leaves her his diaries from the time he was her age (fifteen years old), she considers them a consolation prize, but reading about his struggles helps her understand her own. The narrator's voice rings true in this compassionate coming-of-age novel. Reviewer: Elisabeth Greenberg
VOYA - Jane Harper
Timing is everything, especially in love. If you are not careful, you might find yourself falling in love with the right person at the wrong time, which is exactly what happens to Amelia. She is a fifteen-year-old girl on the brink of a year filled with firsts, starting with her first job at the local supermarket where she meets her first big crush, Chris. Unfortunately, Chris is twenty-one, too old for Amelia. She is sensible enough to know that, but it does not stop her from falling madly in love with him anyway. Chris does not seem to notice her that way, at least until he starts to get to know her better. Set in Australia, this engaging story is told mainly from Amelia’s point of view, with diary entries from Chris interspersed throughout. Their alternating voices are smart, funny, and honest, weaving together a story of two appealing characters who just might have gotten together--if they were not in such different phases of their lives. Fully developed secondary characters add complications and appeal. This wonderful author shows us that love can be heartbreaking, but it can be incredibly funny as well. Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
A sweet and scathingly funny love story (kinda) from Australia. Amelia is thoroughly crushed out on Chris. Chris pines for Michaela, though he does think Amelia is interesting. Amelia lives for her evening and weekend shifts at the local supermarket, aka "the Land of Dreams"; Chris lives for his post-work and -class benders and the hope of sex. As Chris says, "[Y]ou are fifteen and I am twenty-two, we have nothing in common socially and are at completely different stages in our lives." Well, they are and they aren't. Amelia is "in [the] no-man's-land between the trenches of childhood and adulthood," and really, so is Chris. About to finish his sociology degree, he still lives with his parents and avoids planning beyond university. Amelia tells her side of the nonromance in a smart, wistfully perceptive present tense, while Chris' story unfolds in his journals, written with savage, self-deprecating, foulmouthed ferocity. These accounts are interleaved, though staggered chronologically so readers move back and forth in time as the relationship develops--a brilliant juxtaposition. Alcohol-drenched encounters outside of work are, with one exception, almost irredeemably sordid (though as funny as the rest of the book); the Land of Dreams becomes a weird haven for them both, where they discuss Great Expectations and school each other in third-wave feminism. The exactly right conclusion eschews easy resolution, though there's plenty of hope as they flounder into the future. (Fiction. 14 & up)
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, NY

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Smart, honest and full of achingly real characters. And it made me laugh. What else would you want in a book?" —Melina Marchetta, Printz Award-winning author of Jellicoe Road

"Charged, authentic, and awkward  . . . The realistic situations and questions will stay with readers." —Booklist

Meet the Author

A life-long resident of Sydney Australia, LAURA BUZO is a social worker and mother to a young daughter. Love and Other Perishable Items is her first novel.

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Love and Other Perishable Items 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Some_Reading_Required More than 1 year ago
I have conflicting feelings towards Love and Other Perishable Items. On one hand, this story is incredibly raw and honest. Buzo’s writing style really captures the spirit of adolescence. On the other hand, this book’s execution had my mind spinning. Because of the nonlinear narration and dual POVs, everything just seemed so discombobulated. For a two hundred and fifty page book, it sure took me a heck of a long time to finish this one. If I hadn’t become so enamored with Chris’ POV and dedicated enough to finish this one before its U.S. release, I might have marked it DNF. Amelia, Amelia, Amelia… What can I say about Amelia? Well for starters, I spent the first quarter of the book despising her. Her whiny and at times, snobbish behavior, drove me berserk. I couldn’t connect to her at all. For me, Love and Other Perishable Item’s saving grace was the introduction of Chris’ POV. The premise didn’t really indicate this change up in narration so when it first came I was hesitant. Not only do I normally dislike multiple POVs, I also tend to dislike male perspectives. (I guess there’s a first for everything.) I ended up adoring Chris’ POV, even more than Amelia’s. (Go figure.) While reading, I’d actually get depressed whenever it’d revert back to Amelia. Luckily though, through Chris’ perspective I actually began to see a different side to Amelia. I started understanding and respecting her character more because of Chris. He saw a different side to her, one that was masked because Amelia herself felt so self-conscience and small. I liked Love and Other Perishable Items because it was realistic. Bruzo does a great job of portraying a young girl navigating her way through high school (and life) by experiencing a multitude of “firsts”. I also thoroughly enjoyed following Chris along his own path of self-discovery. Like me, he has recently come to the end of his college journey and is struggling with the “what’s next?” dilemma. I loved being able to relate to Chris on this level. It made my connection to his character and the book as a whole, stronger. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. The story was great, having left off on a bittersweet ending, but I couldn’t get over the timeline confusion. I also found this book very repetitive because every time the POV would switch off, we’d get a replay of what had already occurred. Unfortunately I’m not a fan of this style. Regardless, if you like cute and quirky contemporaries that are leaning towards the New Adult genre, you’ll enjoy Love and other Perishable Items.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really author? That ending sucked so bad. Why couldnt you just have Chris return?
RaeLynn_Fry More than 1 year ago
This book had its moments. It was good, but in the end rather un-impressionable and somewhat forgettable.  It’s about the Amelia, who’s just turned 16 and has fallen in love with an older boy she works with, Chris. The thing is, it will never work between them. Chris knows this, and Amelia knows this, but part of her still holds out hope. And part of him is sort of interested.  I think what appealed to me most about this book was the fact that the author was able to capture that part in a young girl’s life with such realistic accuracy. Falling for the older guy, knowing nothing’s going to come from it, but holding out hope for it anyway.  It’s told from two different points of view, Amelia’s and Chris’, so we get both sides of a situation and what’s going on inside their heads. In the end, you cheer for, somehow--beyond all socially accepted and legal odds--that they would find a way to be together. But that’s not realistic. The ending that the author came up with, is. Happy reading, my friends!
ImaginaryReads More than 1 year ago
Love and Other Perishable Items takes me back to the days of puppy love when you think so-and-so is perfect and beautiful and you're unworthy of him or her. You do everything you can think of to attract this person's attention and prove that you're awesome, that you're The One. That's what Amelia does. Honestly, I didn't have much to think about Chris at first, especially after reading from his perspective; his journal is filled with a lot of mundane activities; on top of that, he's in a slump and complaining about a lot of things (using a lot of bad words while he's at it) without doing anything to change his situation. I often found myself skimming the pages. Amelia is a good girl, on the other hand. A bit quiet, into English, and insecure about herself. She reminds me of me when I was her age, a bit. I was that quiet book nerd studying in between classes. Amelia is starstruck with how sophisticated he is because of his age; she doesn't look at him like he's another human, but more like how one views an idol. And he's showing her this other world, one that pushes her out of her comfort zones. She's trying to fit herself into his world instead of thinking about how maybe she doesn't belong there, or at least compromising with him. I don't feel as though I have the right to judge her, as it took me a while to find where I belonged as well, but it isn't fun watching her go through all this either, especially since I know how destructive such behavior can be to one's self-concept. In a strange turn of events, I ended up sympathizing more with Chris than Amelia, namely because of their decisions at the end of the book and how they decide to move on with their lives after realizing their feelings towards each other. (Though I still don't like him all that much.) On the writing style/general formatting: While I can appreciate multiple perspectives told in third person, I cannot read multiple perspectives told in first person. It's just too weird for me switching from one to the other. Another issue I had is with the formatting of the letters that Amelia and Chris write to each other. Italics would work just as well and would be easier to read. After a long day of class and looking at my laptop,  it was just too much of a strain on my eyes to read the cutesy font used for the letters. In addition, I feel as though we're giving too many details about unimportant things (like Chris's mundane life) and left out on other details (like more character depth, especially with secondary characters). Warning: Heavy use of cuss words, alcohol, drugs, mentions of sex
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you want to read something uplifting, funny and romantic, this is not for you. There is barely a dose of romance. The girl obsessively thinks about the guy. And the guy is... well... a guy. There are many aspects of life that weigh down these two characters and the book borders on depressing. It is healthy to have such a dose of reality every once in a while. But know what you're getting into.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
ives a unique flavor to the book. I got a sense of both of the characters but not so much of how their stories meet. This was the point of the story that didn't have me enraptured. I didn't have the patience to really see how they connected at the beginning, it felt like I was slushing through, especially the sections from Chris.      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.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Amelia is fifteen and chafing under her stunning lack of control over her own life. She is also painfully and completely in love with Chris who works checkout with her at the local supermarket. Chris is twenty-one. Amelia is a smart girl and she knows that Chris is a smart guy. She knows that Chris talking to her about literature doesn't mean much beyond the fact that no one else working at the Land of Dreams actually reads. She knows that being his confidant about his studies at university or even his partner for witty banter does not magically mean she'll ever be his girlfriend. But somehow when Amelia is with Chris, anything seems possible. Especially when, as time passes, it starts to feel like maybe Amelia isn't the only one feeling the effects of this crush. In a year filled with a lot of change and a lot of new things for both Amelia and Chris, this improbable pair will learn that friendships--and sometimes even more confusing feelings--can blossom anywhere in Love and Other Perishable Items (2012) by Laura Buzo. Love and Other Perishable Items is Buzo's first novel (published in 2010 in Australia before making its way to the US in 2012). It was a nominee for the Morris Award for YA Debut Fiction in 2013. Love and Other Perishable Items is an incredibly smart book with not one but two introspective narrators who are as approachable as they are authentic. Amelia is sharp and clever as well as utterly endearing. The first part of the novel, called "Spheres of No Influence," aptly highlights the breadth of her world as well as its limitations in a way that makes sense within the context of the plot as well as for an actual teenaged girl. Spending so much of this novel seeing Chris through Amelia's rose-colored glasses, it's hard to view him as anything but perfect. In the frame of Amelia's adoring descriptions, who wouldn't fall in love with Chris just a little? Buzo brings Chris into sharper focus by presenting parts of the story through his journal entries. Chris is broken. He is lonely. He hurts. He is, like many young adults, lost and trying to find his way to adulthood in whatever form that may take. The incredible thing here is how well Amelia and Chris's stories come together. Their frustrations and hopes, on many levels, mirror each other as both characters struggle to figure out who they want to be and how to get to that version of themselves. Love and Other Perishable Items is a melancholy, buoyant novel about looking for love and finding oneself with equal parts letting go and holding on. Nothing in this book is especially neat or clearly defined, but neither is real life. In many ways this story is only the beginning, for both Amelia and Chris, as readers are left to imagine what other marvelous things life has to offer these two well-realized protagonists. Highly recommended. Possible Pairings: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg, The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee, To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, Alice MacLeod, Realist at Last by Susan Juby, The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Aug 3 Bills vs Giants Hall of Fame Game