Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on December 11th 2012
A wonderful, coming-of-age love story from a fresh new voice in YA ﬁction.
'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?
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.