Love And Other Perishable Items | Laura Buzo | Book Review

I’ve really been on quite a bender of Aussie YA books, given that I have so recently read a few. Add Love And Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo to the list of books to turn to for a solid, legit read. Buzo’s contemporary book is a quiet read of the desperation of unrequited love. I know that sounded totally dorky, but really, that’s what this book is about and while reading it, I could not help but contemplate how different fictional Aussie teens seem from fictional American teens. Love And Other Perishable Items or Good Oil is an excellent read that makes me hope Buzo’s Holier Than Thou will someday be published in the US.

Love And Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo | Good Books And Good Wine

Amelia is 15 years old and about to start her first job as a checkout girl at Coles Supermarket. She meets the most perfect guy ever, or so she thinks — her trainer, Chris. He’s charming, charismatic, smart and not too bad to look at. He’s also 21. So, Amelia spends her time pining over Chris and hoping that he will realize just how great she is. You see, Amelia is quite naive when it comes to guys, she’s never even dated a guy and it seems Chris is her first crush. Yet, the story isn’t solidly focused on Amelia. Love And Other Perishable Items alternates between Amelia’s first person point of view and Chris’s journal entries. This is the ultimate will-they won’t-they forbidden love sort of story and I just ate it up my friends. Really, this is a very ordinary sort of book in that it really does manage to capture feelings we’ve all had — crushes that seem like they are going nowhere. There’s not a lot of dramatics within Buzo’s plot and I am perfectly okay with that.

When I think about YA female main characters, I like them well enough. I even try to relate to them. As a character, Amelia is awesome. She’s a real thinker. She ponders things and realizes just how bullshit the ending of Great Expectations is. Amelia is also learning about feminism and her eyes are beginning to open to things like sexism in advertising and how the domestic division of labor is unfair. It’s awesome. She’s not completely 100% dead on correct about everything, but she is learning and is precocious and I just loved her. I also loved her earnestness and her seriousness. For a 15 year old, she did not annoy the heck out of me. Yet, she still comes across as girlish and not at all like an adult. I just thought that although Amelia is brilliant, she also seemed developmentally appropriate in the way that Buzo wrote her.

I thought that Chris was drawn fairly true to life as someone who is a bit unmotivated. He studies sociology at university and works a lot of hours at Coles. He still lives at home with his parents and drinks away his paycheck. He keeps getting hung up on old flames and the wrong women in his search for The Perfect Woman. He calls Amelia by the affectionate nickname Youngster and kind of does not see her as more than a friend. There are moments where it seems like he comes across as a dick, but for me, I thought that he was doing the right thing, given the situation. I mean, 15 and 21 is not okay and you can disagree with me all you want, but my mind won’t ever be changed. Either way, I really liked the complexity with which Buzo drew Chris.

I was saying above how this story made me feel that there’s a difference between Australian teenagers and American teenagers, at least fictional ones. I thought Amelia came across as much more deep and concerned about things than most teenagers I read about. I don’t know, she just seems pretty mature and not all caught up in petty things. She’s very, hmmm, introspective. I don’t really get that sense with a lot of the American teens that I read about and from when I was a teenager. I don’t know. I can’t describe it.

All that being said, I really enjoyed Love And Other Perishable Items and am not quite able to put my finger on why. Maybe it’s the writing style. Maybe it’s the portrayal of the characters. Maybe it’s the longing. I don’t know, this is just a superb read.

Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher

Other reviews of Love And Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo:

Books With Cass – “truly wonderful
YA Love – “a smart and sweet literary debut
Anna Reads – “so so so good

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I enjoyed reading this book a lot too-Amelia had so much depth and it was easy to root for her.

  2. I’m so glad you liked it! I actually love the book, I even braved fishpond and bought the Aussie Edition (titled Good Oil) when there was no plans to publish it in the US.

    What really worked for me in this book was seeing both sides of the story, you know? how Amelia was all about Chris but she barely registered with him at first, she was like this footnote in his journal at first, but over time she starts to be a bit more though never what she wanted to be.

    I actually found it pretty easy to identify with Chris – the lack of motivation, the everyone is moving on but me, I felt a lot of that when I left college – though he does some pretty jerky things.

    I loved Amelia and how fierce she was about stuff, even when she was wrong, and how she does grow up from the start to the finish but still sounded like a teen.

  3. I really enjoy reading these knd of books because hey really reminds me of my past years, and I like to remember and compare my state of mind and behaviour about my first crushes!!
    It would be a very nice reading if it would be released here in Italy! xoxo

  4. Aw, thanks for referencing my review, April! xo!

    BUT onto more serious matters.. I’m so glad you liked this one! And…. I’ve kinda never read another Aussie book, so any recs??! Lay em on me! <3

  5. I’ve heard really good things about Love, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. I’m with you completely – 15 and 21 is a huge age difference, and it’s never, ever okay. That is why I was hesitant to read this one. But after reading your review, I think I might try it. I didn’t realize it was by an Australian author.

  6. I really need to read this for myself at some point. I don’t think I’ve read a single negative review of this book, to be honest. The only Australian YA author I’ve (knowingly) read before is Melina Marchetta, so obviously I need to read more to see what everyone loves about them so much! From what you’ve related here, though, Love and Other Perishable Items sounds fantastic. And like Buzo was able to handle the potential creepiness of the age difference with aplomb. Wonderful review!

  7. Great review. I have wanted to read this book since I heard about it a couple of months ago. I look forward to finding a copy.


  8. I really enjoyed this book too. I found both Chris’ and Amelia’s voices so well done, and I found the bittersweet ending refreshing. Don’t hate me, but I *just* got a copy of Holier Than Thou! Can’t wait to read it.

  9. I love the title and the cover design! They’re so different and affecting. I like thoughtful and intelligent heroines, too – gullibility and melodrama do not appeal. Thanks for the great review. I wish Laura huge success! 🙂