Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
Knopf BYR (Random House), 256 pages
Expected US Release Date: December 11, 2012
Source: Publisher, via NetGalley - thank you!
Love is awkward, Amelia should know.
From the moment she sets eyes on Chris, she is a goner. Lost. Sunk. Head over heels infatuated with him. It's problematic, since Chris, 21, is a sophisticated university student, while Amelia, is 15.
Amelia isn't stupid. She knows it's not gonna happen. So she plays it cool around Chris—at least, as cool as she can. Working checkout together at the local supermarket, they strike up a friendship: swapping life stories, bantering about everything from classic books to B movies, and cataloging the many injustices of growing up. As time goes on, Amelia's crush doesn't seem so one-sided anymore. But if Chris likes her back, what then? Can two people in such different places in life really be together?
Through a year of befuddling firsts—first love, first job, first party, and first hangover—debut author Laura Buzo shows how the things that break your heart can still crack you up.
"The important thing to remember," said Chris, "is It's Not About You. Some people are just pricks. And that's not only true in here."
If you were to ask me on any normal day how I felt about a 15-year-old and a 21-year-old dating, I would immediately scrunch my nose at you and say, "Ew. No way in hell. NO."
Apparently today is not a normal day, because I wanted Chris and Amelia together SO BADLY. I can't even think about them without thinking how absolutely perfect they were together, and it pains me to know what an age gap it was. This book entirely broke my heart and made me so happy all at once.
If you read the summary closely enough, you pretty much know what happens. The story is nothing more and nothing less than what it says, so don't get your hopes up. But at the same time, even though I knew the basic plotline, the details and filling in the gaps were absolutely brilliant and hilarious and far more than anything I could have expected. Chris and Amelia are such wonderful characters, filled with such passion and personality and emotion that they were stunning on the page. They're personified so well, and their thoughts and feelings are so raw and real that I felt like I was them in some of the pages. I'm surprised that I loved their friendship together, almost more than their weird maybe-feelings-possible-relationship! Their friendship is the kind you spend a lifetime searching for, one where you can ask whatever you like without judgment or say what you need without it falling on deaf ears.
I feel weird because I have to little to say about this book! And I don't mean that in a negative way - I have little to say because it's all so amazing. I can't talk in details since that will give away some things, and really, I just want everyone to experience it themselves. You'll be so swept up in Amelia and Chris's friendship/relationship, and I can't take that away from anyone by giving hints. Just know it's totally worth the journey, and there are some seriously funny self-deprecating moments that just made the heartache so bitterly enjoyable.
I did also love the other parts to Amelia and Chris - what their lives were like, their other friends, their families, the journals Chris kept. They were really great elements to help shape who Amelia and Chris are, and not just be topics they could discuss. I particularly enjoyed Amelia's dynamic with other people.
So, the ending...don't worry, I won't spoil it! Like I said though, you pretty much know going in. While I don't actually endorse contemporary novels that are series or not-standalones (I'm iffy on companions), I would love love LOVE reading a follow up book about Chris and Amelia. In like...7 years. That would be awesome to know what they are doing, where they are in life as individuals and as a pair. However...I'm also really happy with the version I've created in my head, too. And for me to be happy with what I only think has happened? That's a pretty amazing novel.
4.5 Stars / 5