Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo | Book Review

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo | Book ReviewLove and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
Published by Knopf Books For Young Readers on December 2012
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought





book synopsis Amelia is 15 years old and has gotten her first job at Woolworth’s — a supermarket. She immediately encounters Chris, who is 21, and trains her on checkout and becomes her friend at work. It doesn’t take long for her to fall for him and his witty demeanor and his ability to make everyone smile. She feels like there is something there because they can talk about everything and anything — from the serious to the absurd– and there is always a constant banter between the two of them but the big hurdle is the 6 year age difference which, at times, feels like it’s a lot more than that. Amelia tries to show him that, despite the age difference, she’s right for him after all.

good books to readLove and Other Perishable Items was not at all what I pegged it to be! The cover made me just think it was going to be this ooey-gooey, will-probably-cause-cavities kind of sweet romance. Not the case! NOT AT ALL. And you know what? I loved it!! It was heartbreakingly real and honestly quite different — didn’t feel like something I’d ever read before.

It was really just one of those coming of age stories that perfectly captures that awkwardness and not always perfectly reciprocated feelings that comes with crushes and first loves. There’s that uncertainty in what the other person is thinking and the overthinking and the longings and Laura Buzo made me remember all that in Amelia’s story — especially as a girl who had a knack for picking older boys to set my sights on. Seriously, I had my own Chris situation with an older guy who was a good friend. We could talk about everything, we found each other super interesting and everything just clicked. But that pesky age difference.

Amelia’s crush on Chris really tugs at your heart. You see why she finds him so wonderful and you understand her longing. You get it. You do. But you also see the improbability in it and the fact that he might not love her in the way she would want in this time. I’m really happy that Chris wasn’t just seen through the lens of Amelia though — especially as the targets of our affection sometimes make us skew how perfect we see people. Having the Chris chapters helped to balance out my view of him and really made me see him as a PERSON and see the other side of the encounters and his motives in everything. It honestly made me crush on him a bit even knowing all his flaws.

But I loved that this book was only half about the romance and the other half was really Amelia coming of age (which essentially the “love story” was just really woven into that). She’s smart, witty and very observant and I loved being in her brain sometimes because she made me think as she tries to grapple with things like feminism and what it means (a little reminiscent of Frankie), her mother’s unhappiness, her family, etc. I loved the conversations she and Chris would have about quirky things and about the messiness of life.

That ending was perfectly satisfying and made tears well up in my eyes big time but, at the same time, I selfishly wanted MORE. I need a crystal ball to see the future of this story for sure. Not just for the romance but because I want to see the kind of extraordinary young woman I know Amelia would grow up to be. I’d read a novel about her as a twenty or thirty something for sure!


book reviewsLove and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo was a quietly beautiful coming of age story about the stickiness of crushes and first love but also just about all the facets of growing up –finding your place, seeing the imperfectness in the world and your family, etc. It’s a slim and unassuming book whose cover might lead you to believe this is some ooey-gooey, sweet as candy love story but it was definitely more than that. I really, really loved it and highly recommend. It was surprisingly emotional and will have you reminiscing back to your first crush/love — especially if you ever felt something for someone a bit older than you like I did!

short book review

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo


books you may also likeGraffiti Moon by Cath Crowley | The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart


Letโ€™s Talk: Have you read Love & Other Perishable Items? Heard of it? Did you love it like I did or have different feelings? What did you think about the ending? Was it satisfying to you or no? And because I’m curious, did any of you, like me, have your own Chris situation??
The Perpetual Page-Turner


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I adored this one! I agree that it was not at all what I expected, but it was better!

    I definitely had a Chris back in the day, so I could relate.

  2. What really draws me to this is that I work at a supermarket and had a crush on a guy I worked with called Chris… I’m guessing those are probably the only things I have in common with this book but I still REALLY want to read it haha.

  3. Love the fact that she works at Woolworths which was the ultimate store when I was a kid. It’s closed down now though! How old is this book? I’m assuming it’s set in England and this isn’t a massive coincidence?
    Woolworths alone makes me want to read this! Ahhhh the memories

    • Actually, it’s set in Australia, which is where I live! Knowing this made the book so much more relatable, especially as Woolworths still exists here, and now, every time I pass the store, I think of Chris and Amelia. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I completely judged the book based on the cover and thought the same as you- about it being all ‘ooey-gooey’ and overly lovely-dovey. But it looks like that isn’t what it’s about at all based on your review. See, this is why I love all the book blogs and reviews- it enables us to have the opportunity to listen to others and see that a book may not be about what we thought it was.

  5. I’ve also cover judged this and honestly didn’t even know what it was about because based on the cover alone, it TOTALLY doesn’t look like my thing. but after reading your review, i think i’m going to have to reconsider! It sounds fabulous!

  6. I really enjoyed this book too!! The cover is super cute, but the story isn’t just fluffy… like you said, it captures that awkward growing up and having that first unrequited crush perfectly.

    Love your review!

  7. HOORAY! This book is definitely on my favorites shelf — adore it!

  8. This sounds good. I just sent the sample to my Kindle.

  9. I loved so many things about this book, and it was kind of such a breath of fresh air when I read it, but when I think about actual teens reading it I always wonder if they would have a hard time fitting together Amelia’s very young story and Chris’s very mature story. You know? I appreciated both perspectives, but the first time it switched to Chris’s voice I was really taken aback.

  10. So my husband and I met at a grocery store. He was 21, I was 17. He was the cashier and I was being trained as a cashier. Someone stole the plot of my life!! Lol. I’ll definitely be reading this one. It sounds heart-warming, real and like something that I will definitely be able to relate to. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I’ve definitely got to read this. It’s been on my list of books-I-need-to-read-someday for a year and a half and I still haven’t yet read it. Thank you for the lovely review! Maybe it’ll help me get my butt in gear on reading this. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. I agree about Chris and his POV. Without it, he would have been such a jerk. I was so fascinated by Amelia’s family and their imperfectness. The whole thing was just so well done.

  13. it was an okay book , but I had issues with it. It was definitely different but I didn’t have warm fuzzies reading this one.

  14. I feel like we all have a Chris at some point, and that makes me really want to read this book. It’s been on my wishlist for a while. Great review!

  15. I hadn’t heard of this one before! Sounds interesting! Aww I love it when books make me feel nostalgic. And seriously, has any girl not had a huge crush on an older guy?? I definitely did! I especially want to read it more seeing how much you loved it!

  16. This is a great review! I am happy to hear that both POVs are represented and it is more than just a love story. I think I will really like this one so I will definitely be reading this at some point! Glad you loved it!

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

  17. I’ve heard great things about this book but haven’t managed to find the time to read it yet. And I love that cover so much, even if it’s not related to the story. Every once in a while, I do just want to read a book that is relatable and nostalgic. This sounds like the perfect book for that. Great review!

  18. Ooooh, now I’m excited to read it! I love your reviews, Jamie! And I love that you love contemporaries the way I do. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. I’m halfway through this and just cannot get into it! I do not find Chris likable! He’s OK in the Amelia chapters but when we get into his head… just ugh! I hope this gets better for me!

    • Aw man! It happens though :/ I just found it so relatable because we build these guys up in our minds a lot of times, especially as a young girl looking at this older guy, and we see that in fact he’s just a person — a flawed person. I think that’s why I liked the Chris chapters so much because Amelia’s love for him clouds who he really is. She makes him seem perfect and like it could be this happily ever after and real life so often isn’t like that.

      I hope it gets better for you too! I think that’s why I liked it was because it was different from the typical swoooooon type book ya know? But totally understand + respect your opinion and feelings!

      • Thanks so much for the response! I finished the book and didn’t like it, but you made a great point! I didn’t like a single thing about Chris — but it IS interesting how Ameliaโ€™s love for him clouds who he really is. This was definitely a unique read.

        • Ah so sorry it wasn’t a win for you like it was for me! Definitely unique though for sure! Very refreshing I thought because it wasn’t super typical!

  20. I seriously want to read this book! Every time I see it, I want to pick it up and read it. But for some reason, I keep setting it aside or taking it out of my cart. I’m both excited and nervous about it — excited, because I know a lot of my friends liked it and nervous, because that story might be truly relatable in terms of that 6-year age gap… which is what it is like for me and Macky.

  21. I read this book under it’s Australian Title “Good Oil” and loved it! I read it last year sometime and totally just stumbled across your review by accident and thought again how amazing it was. It defintely makes me want to go back and re-read it, because this book was just so powerful in totally unexpected ways.


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