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Review: Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buza

Thursday, February 28, 2013
2 Stars: An Okay Read
Hardback: 256 Pages
Publication: December 11, 2012 by Scholastic

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, 15, 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?

Love and Other Perishable Items takes me back to the days of puppy love when you think so-and-so is perfect and beautiful and you're unworthy of him or her. You do everything you can think of to attract this person's attention and prove that you're awesome, that you're The One. That's what Amelia does. Honestly, I didn't have much to think about Chris at first, especially after reading from his perspective; his journal is filled with a lot of mundane activities; on top of that, he's in a slump and complaining about a lot of things (using a lot of bad words while he's at it) without doing anything to change his situation. I often found myself skimming the pages. Amelia is a good girl, on the other hand. A bit quiet, into English, and insecure about herself. She reminds me of me when I was her age, a bit. I was that quiet book nerd studying in between classes.

Amelia is starstruck with how sophisticated he is because of his age; she doesn't look at him like he's another human, but more like how one views an idol. And he's showing her this other world, one that pushes her out of her comfort zones.

For example (from ARC):
Chris buys a six-pack of beer on the way to Rino's.

"Special treat," he says, parting with a twenty-dollar bill. "You like beer, don't you?"

I hate beer. Hate it. "Yeah!"

Oh, well. Love is pain.

She's trying to fit herself into his world instead of thinking about how maybe she doesn't belong there, or at least compromising with him. I don't feel as though I have the right to judge her, as it took me a while to find where I belonged as well, but it isn't fun watching her go through all this either, especially since I know how destructive such behavior can be to one's self-concept. In a strange turn of events, I ended up sympathizing more with Chris than Amelia, namely because of their decisions at the end of the book and how they decide to move on with their lives after realizing their feelings towards each other. (Though I still don't like him all that much.)

On the writing style/general formatting: While I can appreciate multiple perspectives told in third person, I cannot read multiple perspectives told in first person. It's just too weird for me switching from one to the other. Another issue I had is with the formatting of the letters that Amelia and Chris write to each other. Italics would work just as well and would be easier to read. After a long day of class and looking at my laptop,  it was just too much of a strain on my eyes to read the cutesy font used for the letters. In addition, I feel as though we're giving too many details about unimportant things (like Chris's mundane life) and left out on other details (like more character depth, especially with secondary characters).

Warning: Heavy use of cuss words, alcohol, drugs, mentions of sex

An ARC was provided by Random House Children's Books for review

5 comments on "Review: Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buza"
  1. Ah so this book didn't do it for me ;(( I had so many issues with the characters that I didn't get into the book at all. I agree sometimes the writing was a little confusing and it took me a time to figure out these letters and the time fram..

  2. Haven't really seen much of this one. It sounds like it would be good, but I can take multiple POV's but not from a bunch of different ones. I might steer clear of this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  3. I really liked this book, meeting Amelia and Chris and seeing their lives move forward. Sorry this didn't work better for you-better luck next read!

  4. I haven't read many reviews of this one yet. Bummer about the annoying formatting and the dual first person POV's. That rarely works well for me either. Sounds like this is one I might be better off skipping. Thanks so much for your honest review! :-)


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