Welcome to one of our newest features, The Selective Collective. Together with our friends at The Book Addict’s Guide, Gone Pecan, The Grown Up YA and Teen Lit Rocks, we’ll be exploring a new release in its entirety, from review to author spotlight, to a roundtable chat, among other fun things.
This week, we’re discussing Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo.
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. (Goodreads)
Amelia knows Chris—her first heartbreaking, soul-gripping crush—because they work together at the cash registers of Coles Supermarket. In fact, Chris trained Amelia. And while Love and Other Perishable Items is very much about Amelia and her infatuation with Chris, life at Coles, including the various other co-workers—the stoners, the make out partners that shouldn’t have been, the friends, the misunderstood—plays an integral part in the story. Here Buzo sets up a realistic background, one to which we can all relate. The conversations, the conflicts and the banter all ring true and offer up a confirmation that the relationships created in such circumstances, for better or worse, make a deep impression on us all.
In discussing this with my SC partners, Sandie at Teen Lit Rocks suggested that we explore books with powerful workplace relationships. It didn’t take long for us to come up with a list of books with memorable casts surrounding characters who were often experiencing their first jobs, first exposure to the drama, the fun of the fights, the meddling and the laughs. Here are just a few memorable ones:
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
When Macy’s boyfriend goes away to Brain Camp (yeah, you read that right) and dumps her via e-mail, she stumbles upon a job at Wish Catering. Here she meets the crushworthiest of guys, Wes, but she also gains an impressive, if not somewhat kooky, group of friends in Bert (Wes’s brother), Kristy and Monica. It’s through these friends that Macy is invigorated. She finds herself and discovers what she loves about life again. I really don’t think that would have happened without these friends who welcomed her into their “family” and accepted her.
Lola and The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
First of all, Lola has what may be one of the coolest part-time jobs ever. She works in a movie theater! She develops a relationship with co-worker, Anna (of Anna and The French Kiss) and Anna’s boyfriend St. Clair (le sigh), who doesn’t actually work there but hangs around so much that he probably should just give in and get hired. It’s through this couple that Lola really sees what she wants out of romantic love. They exemplify all that is sweet and real about love and devotion, and this causes Lola to evaluate her current boyfriend situation as well as her relationship with Cricket, the boy she grew up crushing on. This is truly one of the cutest relationships ever.
Past Perfect by Leila Sales
This book focuses almost entirely on the workplace. Maybe it’s because Chelsea works at Essex Historical Colonial Village (she gets to wear colonial clothing in the dead heat of summer. Jealous?). Or maybe it’s because of the epic war the kids at Essex have going on with the ones who work across the way at Civil War Renactmentland. All I know is, this book is hilarious, from the conversations that happen with Chelsea’s fellow employees (their insistence on calling those from Civil War Renactmentland farbs, which stands for far be it from authentic, should clue you in on the level of nerdiness here), to the ex-boyfriend who just had to get a summer gig at Essex, to Chelsea’s utter contempt for her job, Leila Sales nailed the little annoyances, the laughs and the strange sense of unity that comes from a group of people who are forced by circumstance to be a team.
Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald
Over the summer, Sadie, in an effort to stop missing her BFF and silent crush, Garrett, gets a job at Totally Wired, a local coffee shop she frequents. It’s here that Sadie meets Josh, LuAnn and Dominique, the crew that watches her daily lamenting over Garrett and his latest love, sees how willing she is to change herself to make him want her, and they work little by little to convince her otherwise. This book not only explores the power (and fun) or such relationships with co-workers, but it also opens up valuable discussions on self-worth and how far one should be willing to go to make compromises to win or keep the one they love. It has such a great message.
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
Leah has worked for Hall Aviation for years, earning some much-needed spare cash and discounted flying lessons. In her years there she’s developed a tumultuous relationship with one of the Hall boys, Grayson. His twin brother, Alex is very kind to Leah, but Grayson sometimes treats her with disdain. When the boys’ father dies, against all odds the three try to keep his business running. Here they’re very much a team, almost like a real family. I loved the dynamic they shared; there was love, romance, friendship and jealousy, sibling rivalry and secrets. And most of the book took place right there at the airport.
These were just a few examples. Let me know if you have a favorite I’ve missed! Also, please be sure to visit my blogging partners in The Selective Collective and check out the great things they have in store:
The Book Addict’s Guide- Author Q & A
Gone Pecan- Roundtable Discussion
The Grown Up YA- Review
Teen Lit Rocks- Casting Call
Thank you to Random House for sending us all copies of Love and Other Perishable Items. I really enjoyed it!