Author: Laura Buzo
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
ARC provided by publisher
This novel was originally published in Australia under the title Good Oil, which makes sense once you read the book. The American title makes it sound a little chick-lit, but the book is much smarter and funnier than that.
Fifteen-year-old Amelia takes a part-time job as a cashier at her local supermarket. When cute boy Chris trains her, Amelia falls hard for him. She realizes that charming, funny, smart, and occasionally brooding Chris is twenty-one, and therefore out of her league. But she cannot stop thinking about him. Or talking about him. Or making a fool of herself over him.
Meanwhile, Chris is pining for a girl who broke his heart, watching his friends become more successful than him, and wondering what the hell to do with his life.
The book is written from both Amelia's and Chris's POV, which reinterprets their relationship from different advantage (and disadvantage) points. It's a very talky book as Chris and Amelia discuss literature, feminism, and what makes them angry. Chris, who originally treats Amelia as a bit of an Eliza Doolittle, finally realizes that Amelia has her own opinions that can teach him a thing or two.
Love and Other Perishable Items is achingly honest in how much a crush can feel like love and how much love can hurt. Chris and Amelia are two characters who should belong together, but shouldn't. You root for them, even though you know that they know how impossible it is. The resolution of their story was oddly satisfying, hopeful but not definite.
I would recommend Love and Other Perishable Items to readers who enjoyed An Abundance of Katherines by John Green or The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler.