Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on December 11, 2012
Genres: Contemporary (YA), Romance, Young Adult
"A wonderful, coming-of-age love story from a fresh new voice in YA ﬁction.
'Miss Amelia Hayes, welcome to The Land of Dreams. I am the staff trainer. I will call you grasshopper and you will call me sensei and I will give you the good oil. Right? And just so you know, I'm open to all kinds of bribery.'
From the moment 15-year-old Amelia begins work on the checkout at Woolworths she is sunk, gone, lost...head-over-heels in love with Chris. Chris is the funny, charming, man-about-Woolies, but he's 21, and the 6-year difference in their ages may as well be 100. Chris and Amelia talk about everything from Second Wave Feminism to Great Expectations and Alien but will he ever look at her in the way she wants him to? And if he does, will it be everything she hopes?" ~Goodreads
My Thoughts: I loved the part of the story told from Amelia’s POV. She was smart, well-read, dealing with a less-than-ideal home life, and crushing hardcore on an unattainable co-worker. I feel like everyone’s been that girl at some point. Hopelessly crushing on an older guy. While I didn’t always like Chris’ POV, it was extraordinarily refreshing to be able to see the crushee’s perspective.
Their relationship was super fun and quippy. I loved how emotionally connected Amelia was to everything she believed in. I saw a lot of my 15-year-old self in her. Always passionately arguing about something. Chris and her conversations about feminism were fun to read with Ameila believing that feminism has screwed over women (and sometimes, I’d have to agree with her). But with Chris actually learning from their talks and seeking more information about his mom’s circumstances, it seems like he will be the one to break the trend. It makes his character a little bit more redeemable. If we only got Amelia’s perspective, this book would make Chris seem like the ideal guy, but Buzo shows that he’s not at all perfect.
My only issue with the book was Chris. At first, I wasn’t completely sold on the dual POVs because Chris honestly wasn’t very interesting because he was just a heartbroken dude drinking away his pain. And I was PISSED at the way he treated Amelia after her first drinking party experience and the way he glossed over it during his POV chapters. However, by the end of the book I was sold on Chris. He did the right thing for both him and Amelia, and I was pleasantly surprised by the way the book ended.
This book is more than just a YA contemporary romance. It sheds light on several different family issues: divorces, 20-somethings moving out of their parents house, and gender inequality within marriage. One quote that stuck with me was when Amelia’s mom talks about marriage:
Don’t try to understand other people’s marriages, darling, even your parents’. You’ll be lucky if you understand your own.
I’ve never understood how my parents have stayed together over the years. My mom and dad’s relationship is very similar to Amelia’s parents with my mom doing all the housework and cooking, plus raising four children, and working full-time (and at various points in my life, a second part-time night job). But what I’ve started to realize over the years is that everyone’s relationship is different because everyone is different. What works for you won’t work for others, so you really shouldn’t judge.
Bottom Line: This book got me thinking about more than just silly teenage crushes. It got me thinking deeper about marriage and gender roles. If you enjoy contemporary YA, you will love this book. You will get the romance you are craving along with some insight.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: