Love and Other Perishable Items was nominated for the Morris Award – which honors a book written for young adults by a previously unpublished author. Readers are introduced to fifteen-year-old Amelia as she 1) starts her first job and 2) starts crushing on her unattainable university-aged coworker, Chris. Amelia and Chris are both searching for meaning in their lives. Amelia is infatuated with Chris and doesn’t stop thinking about him, but there is much about Chris that she doesn’t know. In Chris’s diary entries we learn more about him: his crushing depression, despondency, self-medication with drugs and alcohol, and Amelia is barely mentioned.
I liked how the author switched perspectives and writing styles in this novel. After all, don’t most people want to know what’s really going on in the minds of the person they’re crushing on? There are a lot of adult situations regarding drugs, alcohol, and sexual situations in this book – I’m not sure if this is because of cultural differences between the U.S. and Australia, or just the world the author wished to create for the story. It also bothered me that the Amelia’s parents are pretty much absent from her life. This becomes a fairly important plot point in the novel.
What do you think – where are all the parents in YA lit, and does this story read like something that should be published for adults or teens?