Tuesday, 14 February 2012

(Review) Good Oil by Laura Buzo

Release date: August 2010
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Page count: 283
Genre(s): Young Adult/Romance/Contemporary
Buy it: Book Depository (currently unavailable but can be notified when back in stock)
Add it on: Goodreads
Rating: 4.5/5

'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?

Synopsis from Goodreads

I loved this more than I expected. I've been wanting to read it a while because I have some weird interest in age differences in romance. Anyway, I thought this would be a sweet, heart warming love story, and in some ways, it was. But it was also a lot more. I never guessed I'd have cried reading it. I am the biggest crybaby ever but still.
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It just all felt so real. Amelia and Chris were great. Both so believable, with their own adorable qualities and flaws. I could see myself in both of them. I was so like Amelia when I was a teenager. Wishing I was older, prettier and more sure of myself. There were times when I wanted to talk some sense into her but I'd have been exactly the same at her age. I've had those feelings when you're young and you feel like you're head over heels for some guy and all your common sense goes out of the window. Chris was also so real. Funny, energetic but with hidden insecurities. He's at a stage of his life where it seems like everyone else knows their way and he's in this sort of limbo. I can relate to that 100%. I didn't actually know until I started reading from Chris' POV that the book was written in both their POVs. I'm really glad this was done. It was nice having more depth to Chris and seeing what was going on in his head at certain moments. Also, his voice was convincing. I never thought 'This sounds like a woman trying to sound like a man.' They weren't Laura Buzo's words, they were completely Chris'.

I haven't talked about the plot much but I'd say this is definitely a more character driven novel. Don't expect lots of drama. It's more of a day in, day out novel, focusing on the interactions between Amelia, Chris and their family and friends. This isn't a downside though, because with characters like these, the more time spent on them the better. When I finished the book, I felt like the characters stories weren't over for me. I imagined what would happen to them a few years down the line. They weren't just 'characters' to me, but living, breathing people who will always inhabit a little corner of my mind.

I highly recommend this book to people who like their romance believable and tender. I give it a 4.5/5.
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