Good Oil- Laura Buzo


Synopsis from Goodreads.
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

“I can’t run my own race. I’m constantly checking what’s happening in the other lanes”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
YES, AMELIA, YES. *nods in approval*.

High Points.
Amelia. Check-out girls. Intellectuals. Aimless drifters. Wanderlust. Literature. Drunken house parties. Blushes, butterflies and tingly toes. Late night phone calls. Swapping letters. Grey’s Anatomy. Phew.. that was close. *shifty look* Half-off flowers. Plenty.

Low Points.
Hmmm, I go into my minimal problems in my heroine/hero sections so it would be ridiculous to go through them twice.
I’m just hankering for a sequel now… hankerhanker.

Heroine.
As I read this book I started seeing Amelia as this sort of little sister figure. Basically I started foaming at the mouth if anyone mistreated her….
I loved how Ms Buzo wasn’t interested in making her this perfect Mary Sue that the reader will fall head over heels in love with. Because even though I did love her, I recognised her flaws.
I sympathised with Amelia, but her constant belief that Chris was the be all and end all just upset me because I just wanted to give her a cuddle and tell her he’s not worth it.
But I think my adverse reaction just proves how fantastic Ms Buzo is at characterisation: Amelia is an honest and painfully realistic teenager and when I was reading it I honestly felt every stomach flip and blush and frustration she felt.
I also loved that she was very mature for her age without being over the top. And also she’s extremely clever. More YA books need clever heroines who enjoy going to school.
But, a word of advice for you Amelia.
NEVER READ THE BELL JAR FOR A BOY.
Read it for your own soul.

Hero.
Oh Christopher. You are Australian. You are a bit of a loser. You have a tendency to drink instead of dealing with your problems. You are in love with an unattainable girl. Sound familiar?
Yes.
Chris Harvey has a lot of Mackee-avellian qualities.
He’s Mackee-lite.
And from anyone who has ever met me, you will know that Thomas Mackee is my favourite boy, ever. I go crazy over that sexy train wreck.
So you’d think I’d love Chris, right?
Well… I did…. From Amelia’s perspective.
But from his own? No.
I understood him and related to him in a “He’s just completely described my life/anxieties/need to jet off somewhere exotic” but I didn’t think it excused his actions towards Amelia.
I found it very difficult to sympathise with him and there was a lot of times where I just wanted to throttle him for being a patronising pillock who takes advantage and just makes his life worse by making silly decisions and then he just whinges about it and badmouths Dire Straits.
WHICH, by the by, I did not appreciate.
Because that song is amazing.
I know I’m probably being unnecessarily harsh, but I went into complete protective mode with Amelia and I just can’t tolerate oblivious so and sos who are set upon destroying themselves and don’t care about how people they genuinely care about feel even if they are really cute and can talk to me about literature all the live long day.
Unless they are Thomas Mackee, he is the exception to that rule.

….

He is the exception to every rule.

Theme Tune.

Ten Days by Missy Higgins.
[Youtube wouldn’t let me embed the video….]
OK, I am in love with this ladies voice and I’m glad to have discovered her because I’ve never heard her before. I have such a weakness when bands/artists don’t lose their accent when they sing a song. (*ahem* )
But yes, this song is lovely and I think it captures Amelia’s feelings perfectly.
*Mutters something about Chris not deserving Amelia’s lovely feelings*

Strictly Savage Garden Story Song.

A personal favourite of mine.
“I would fly you to the moon and back
If you’ll be, if you’ll be my baby
Got a ticket for a world where we belong
So, would you be my baby?”

Sigh.
One day the right kind of pilot will come, Amelia. Just listen to Darren. HE’S NEVER WRONG.

Boy/Girl Angst.
10/10. Jeez louise. Although, for a book which is basically all about boy/girl angst, I only rolled my eyes and got annoyed with Amelia once and it was only because I felt very protective over her and wanted to shake some sense into her.
But Chris. GOSH… He me to shame. And I’m the Queen of Whinge.
This guy could fill a box full of diaries with all his girl angst… oh wait.
HE DID.
Pfft.

Sadness Scale.
This book kind of reminded me of the times when you and your best friend are reminiscing about past crushes and they say: ‘Oh my GOD, remember when you used to fancy that guy? You remember. That awful guy. The one who broke your heart. The one who trampled all over it. The one you cried over for a whole afternoon. You know, what’s his name. The one who destroyed your self-esteem. The one who RUINED YOUR TEENAGE YEARS.’
And you both laugh and roll your eyes and cringe and laugh some more because it really doesn’t matter now.
But when you’re fifteen you wear these kind of boy blinkers and you don’t see that he’s a complete and utter douche and yes, you can be a bit whingey and yes, you can get a bit out of your depth… BUT, I have ultimate faith that in the sequel… the sequel…. the sequel….(Did it work? Damn. A sequel for this book would be gooooooooood)… that Amelia will look back and cringe as well. While shacking up with a smokin’ rugby player. YEAH.
And I know a lot of people will be a bit miffed with the ending. But I absolutely adored it and I think it was the only way it could end without it being too cringe and/or illegal. :-S

Recommended For.
People who like realistic YA fiction. People who have ever had an unrequited crush. People who don’t mind going back to the most awkward days of your life. People who are disgruntled by the end of Great Expectations. People who like to polish furniture at parties.

This review is part of

You can find out morehere.

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