Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kid Konnection: Love and Other Perishable Items

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you an entertaining young adult book about an awkward, yet honest, relationship.

Summary: 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?

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. -- Knopf

LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS by Laura Buzo is probably one of those books that I should be featuring a little closer to Valentine's Day because of the subject matter, but I just finished this one a few days ago and wanted to share it with you sooner rather than later. LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS is a very funny young adult book that showcases a realistic look at young love.

Amelia is a fifteen year old girl who works at a grocery store after school and on weekends. She has a major crush on Chris, a twenty-one year old college student. She knows that she has zero chance with a guy that age, yet she can't help but see that they have a connection, and she suspects that he might be attracted to her too!

LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS covers a year in Amelia's life. And it's quite a year filled with many memorable firsts. The reader gets an inside look into Amelia's first job, her first party, her first crush, and much more. In addition, there are even a few journal excerpts from Chris. Overall, it's a very cute book that takes an honest look at love and friendship.

I don't read many young adult books, but LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS definitely caught my eye. First of all, I was drawn to the cover and the title. I know I shouldn't "judge a book by its cover" or even a title, but I thought both were so clever. Secondly, I was impressed with the reviews that this debut novel was receiving. Kirkus Reviews gave the novel not only a starred review but also named it one of the Best of Teens Books of 2012. And lastly, I admit I was drawn to the story because, like Amelia, I spent some time during my teen years working as a checkout clerk at a grocery store.

Even though it's been awhile since I worked at a grocery store, I can still remember many of the dynamics of the teen and college employees. There were lots of parties, dating, jealousy, and crushes, and it definitely didn't hurt to be in good favor with the supervisors. There was even one older guy who always seemed to be hitting on the young girls. I have to say that Ms. Buzo's novel nailed these aspects perfectly. I got a major kick out of the various characters and their interactions, and I appreciated how authentic this book was.

However, I most enjoyed the characters of Amelia and Chris. Both were fantastic and so real. (I don't know if I can stress just how genuine they were to me!) Despite being only fifteen, in many ways, Amelia was quite mature. I loved how well-read she was (especially with Chris's recommendations), and I thought her insights into life (and feminism) were pretty smart for a young girl. I think it was the blend of her honestly and her naivete that caused Chris to notice her.

While I enjoyed that most of the book was written in Amelia's voice, I was extremely happy to also get an inside peak into Chris's mind. He just seemed like such a typical guy on the outside, but he had some major insecurities and baggage from a lost love on the inside. I really appreciated his honesty and his desire to be his own man, and I could totally understand Amelia's feelings towards him.

Overall, I thought LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS was a fantastic book. It was a smart and funny look at teen relationships that definitely rang true for me (and I suspect it will for most readers.) Highly recommended.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel. 

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too! 


The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I liked this book a lot too and I was also drawn in by the cover-very cute! I think my fave part was Amelia's burgeoning interest in feminism-not something I run across in American YA novels and much appreciated.

Beth F said...

This does sound good! I hope to return to Kid Konnection next week (holidays = no real reading)

bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a sweet book! I have a feeling I'd enjoy it too.