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Throwback Review: Love and Other Perishable Items

A contemporary YA Throwback Review for you ravenous bibliophiles, this time. Originally posted back in February 2013!

Love and Other Perishable Items is a YA contemporary fiction novel by Australian author Laura Buzo.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day – and to celebrate I bring to you a story about first love. Not the mushy romance novel kind (not that there’s anything wrong with that) or the paranormal kind (not that there’s anything wrong with that either) but the regular, difficult, real-life kind.

It didn’t take long for Amelia to fall for Chris, her trainer at the supermarket in which she works. His easy way of talking, his friendliness, humor, and charisma has done her in.

This is a problem because Chris is twenty-one, a university student hungry to become an independent man. And Amelia? Fifteen.

Having always had a good head on her shoulders, Amelia knows it won’t go anywhere. Sure, it’s like a knife to the heart every time she sees him flirting with a girl his age – but she’ll take the moments of conversation, sharing opinions and personal moments with him at the checkout as they work.

But it’s those long conversations that buzz with wit and candor that start Amelia to wonder, eventually, if her crush really is one-sided… or if there is a chance that despite her age, Chris might like her back.

And even if he does… then what?

Love and Other Perishable Items is superb. I read the whole book in one sitting. I couldn’t stop. I was riveted, glued, and dumbfounded by the tender authenticity and genuineness.

From the get-go, Chris is immediately engaging, likable, fun, and cheery – the kind of guy you’d want to be around. He is able to talk – something that can be difficult to find in guys, and it’s one of the main reasons Amelia falls for him.

The tingly, nervous, excited, slightly obsessive feeling of a crush is evident and honest here. Any one of us who has felt it will recognize it easily. Laura Buzo writes extremely well – extremely.

Amelia is believable, feels like a legitimate fifteen-year-old with a brain. She’s not a bundle of gushy girl romantic fantasies, but can carry of intelligent exchanges, has views, and holds her own among the anguish of unrequited love.

Love and Other Perishable Items switches to Chris’ viewpoint occasionally, through his journal, and it is enlightening and cool. It’s a chance to see his darkness, the underground of his personality that is revealing, disheartening, but realistic. I loved that we got to see her perception of him, his personal hidden side, and then the two combined eventually as a whole human nature. Incredible.

This book isn’t sunshine and rainbows – it’s painful, heartbreaking and sad at times. It’s truly raw and presents unaffected, flawed people and the ache that is sometimes life. But – wow! I was stunned, as you can tell. There’s joy here too – and hope.

Love and Other Perishable Items is… special. I think you’ll think so, too.

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