Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

Title: Love and Other Perishable Items
Author: Laura Buzo

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Length: 283 pages
Original Publishing Date: January 1, 2010
Series: Standalone
Where I got it: E-library

Links: Goodreads Amazon Author's Website

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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?

Main characters: 4/5

Oh boy. Amelia was something else. She was really easy to relate to but viewing her crush on Chris from the outside, it sometimes seemed ridiculous. I guess it was the 15-year-old in her coming out. She was mature for her age, and yet very much a high-schooler. Chris was a likeable character in that he had this magnetic draw that I could feel through the very writing, but he also had major flaws and misconceptions about life as well. I liked both of the main characters in that they were realistic, easy to relate to and fully complete, but I still wanted something more from them. Maybe more interactions together, maybe more emotion, but something was a little lacking for me and I can't put my finger on it.

Secondary characters: 3/5

The interactions with Amelia and her family were some of the most telling and character-building. I feel like these characters taught me more about Amelia and complicated her and that's what I want in secondary characters. Some of the other grocery store employees didn't do that same, and I had trouble connecting with Chris' friends.

Writing style: 3/5

Chris' point of view was written very stream of consciousness, almost like my own journal. While it could sometimes be disconcerting to jolt around with his thoughts, it characterized him very well and allowed me to get in his head. I tended to lose attention more in Chris' notebook sections and I felt less connected to the story and the characters. I would also begin to skim and have to catch myself. For some reason, these sections just weren't as interesting. On the other hand, I loved reading Amelia's sections. You could still hear her voice coming through but it moved along quicker for me and was more organized.

Plot: 2.5/5 
There wasn't a lot of plot. We mostly followed Chris and Amelia along their friendship and potential love story. I liked that it was realistic and that it wasn't instalove. I also appreciated that both Chris and Amelia hooked up with other people while being friends because I feel like it was something that could actually happen. However, because there wasn't a lot happening plot-wise, the story could tend to move slowly and I would have preferred a bit more conflict.

Ending: 2/5

I felt a little jipped, like I was left hanging. And I say this while realizing that it was meant to be an ambiguous ending. But there's a difference between ambiguous with some sort of closure, and ambiguous where you have no idea what anything was supposed to mean or what's going to happen or even how the characters changed. Maybe that's what it's supposed to be but I wish there was a little bit more of a conclusion.

Best scene: The scenes where Chris teases Amelia about polishing wood

Positives: Well-characterized main characters, Amelia's family conflict, intriguing writing style

Negatives: Chris' section, lack of plot conflict, the ending

Cover: The cover is so simple and cute! I especially love the font.

Verdict: Some unique aspects but overall a very average crush/love story

Rating:  5.8 / 10 (3 stars)

Your Thoughts: Have you read it? What did you think? If you haven't, will you be adding it to your TBR list? Let me know!

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