Booklist Reviews

The hot topic of romance on the job is at the center of this debut novel. Working at the checkout in her local supermarket in Sydney, Australia, 15-year-old Amelia has a crush on her handsome supervisor, college student Christopher. He likes the youngster, and they talk about classic books, movies, and more; but he is in love with fellow worker Michaela. Or is his obsession with his supervisor, Kathy? With a big cast, this novel from Australia takes on just about everything, mainly in Amelia's first-person, present-tense narrative, with a few detours into Chris' long notebook entries and letters. Woven around the romance plots are issues about feminism today: yes, mom can work, but why does she still have to do all the housework? What will hold teens most is the charged, authentic, and awkward social scene at work. Amelia is not popular: is it because she refuses to cozy? The realistic situations and questions will stay with readers. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

Amelia's part-time supermarket job would be a total bore if not for Chris, her smart, funny, and friendly coworker. Amelia is instantly smitten but, unfortunately, she's fifteen and Chris is twenty-one. Buzo's debut novel delves into both the emotional life of an adolescent and that of a youngish adult, giving readers keen insight into both the present and the future.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

Amelia's part-time supermarket job would be a total bore if not for Chris, her smart, funny, and friendly coworker; he keeps her entertained with conversations both humorous ("I will call you grasshopper and you will call me sensei, and I will share with you what I know") and thought-provoking (they argue boisterously about literature, feminism, and society). Amelia (likewise smart and funny) is instantly smitten, and her first-person narration alternates with Chris's letters and journal entries, so readers are also treated to his version of events -- and his own feelings for Amelia. Unfortunately, Amelia is fifteen and in high school; university student Chris is twenty-one. But, like Amelia, readers will fall for Chris and will, as Amelia does in the end, appreciate that he's decent enough to see that dating her would be both impractical and more than a little bit pervy. (They'll also swoon over Chris's fit of jealousy when coworker Jeremy puts the moves on Amelia; the drunken kiss Chris gives Amelia in a moment of weakness; and his journal entries that detail his growing attraction to "Youngster," as he calls her.) This Australian import, Buzo's debut novel, delves into both the emotional life of an adolescent (with a spot-on description, for example, of what a crush feels like) and that of a youngish adult (including Chris's painful attempt to forget a former girlfriend), giving readers keen insight into both the present and the future. jennifer m. brabander

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Set over the course of a year, Buzo's debut, first published in Australia, tracks 15-year-old Amelia as she pines over Chris, a boy six years her senior, who works the checkout with her at a supermarket in New South Wales. Amelia knows that a relationship with Chris is probably impossible, but she can't get him out of her head. From the beginning, Buzo underscores the idea that Chris and Amelia are simply at different stages of their lives (a line Chris even uses on Amelia at one point). Chapters told from Amelia's perspective are all about Chris, even as she vents her frustrations about her parents' relationship and feeling young and naïve. Conversely, Amelia barely warrants a mention in Chris's chapters, diary entries in which he mopes over being dumped by the love of his life and details partying with friends at university. Throughout, readers see how little Amelia really knows about Chris, a powerful bit of dramatic irony. It's a believable and often funny portrait of the messy relationship between a starry-eyed but sharp-witted teenager and a young man stumbling his way into adulthood. Ages 14–up. (Dec.)

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School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9–11—Sensitive and intelligent Amelia Hayes, 15, takes an after-school job at a local supermarket, and the minute she meets university student Chris, who trains her to work the checkout, she's a goner. Alas, it's a mostly one-sided infatuation. Amelia wants romance with the charming 21-year-old, but he is mourning a failed relationship and sees Amelia only as a bright and funny "youngster." Over the course of a year, her cringe-worthy crush persists, although she tries valiantly to hide it from Chris and the rest of the supermarket crew, all of whom are quirky and deserve books of their own. Chris is busy working too many hours and trying to avoid graduating and getting a real job by extending his coursework to include a second major. It's abundantly clear that if there weren't such a dramatic age difference, the genuine friendship between Chris and Amelia could have morphed into a heavy-duty romance, and this makes her plight even more painful. The author captures all of the conflicting emotions of both characters by telling the story through Amelia's eyes as well as through some of Chris's journal entries, which provide background information about his failed love affair, his relationship with his family and friends, and his ambivalence about his future. There is quite a lot of underage drinking and some funny discussions of pot use. The realistic conclusion is a bit open-ended, which lends hope that there will be a sequel.—Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY

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Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews

Timing is everything, especially in love. If you are not careful, you might find yourself falling in love with the right person at the wrong time, which is exactly what happens to Amelia. She is a fifteen-year-old girl on the brink of a year filled with firsts, starting with her first job at the local supermarket where she meets her first big crush, Chris. Unfortunately, Chris is twenty-one, too old for Amelia. She is sensible enough to know that, but it does not stop her from falling madly in love with him anyway. Chris does not seem to notice her that way, at least until he starts to get to know her better. Set in Australia, this engaging story is told mainly from Amelia's point of view, with diary entries from Chris interspersed throughout. Their alternating voices are smart, funny, and honest, weaving together a story of two appealing characters who just might have gotten together—if they were not in such different phases of their lives. Fully developed secondary characters add complications and appeal. This wonderful author shows us that love can be heartbreaking, but it can be incredibly funny as well.—Jane Harper 4Q 4P J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.