Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: Good Oil by Laura Buzo

Title: Good Oil
Author: Laura Buzo
Pages: 252
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Release Date: August 2010
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?

My Thoughts (may contain minor spoilers): Good Oil is told from the perspective of 15-year-old Amelia Hayes. It's about her life. From school to her family and to her job at the local supermarket. But it's mostly about Chris Harvey, Amelia's 21-year-old co-worker. Chris is funny and friendly, and even though there's a six year age difference between them, he's the guy Amelia is in love with.

The story also includes diary entries written by Chris. There's more to him than just the funny, easy-going guy. He's not happy with his life at the moment. He doesn't particularly like his job at the supermarket. He's desperately in love with a girl who he has no chance of ever being with. And he's living with his parents in his last year of uni and doesn't have a clue as to what he plans to do next.

I think we all can easily relate to Amelia. We've all had crushes on someone who seemed like the perfect person for us. But our feelings usually disappeared after we really got to know that person. Or maybe not. That's why I liked Amelia. She still liked Chris even with his flaws. Because, although I liked Chris's character, I'm not sure I could have continued to like Chris as more than a friend after finding out some of the personal things about him.

Like Amelia, Chris is a character I think some of us can relate to. A lot of teenagers and young adults get to a point in their lives where they're not sure which direction to go. Choices need to be made soon or time will continue to pass by with nothing ever being accomplished. I'm pretty happy with the decision Chris makes at the end. I think it was the right one.

As for Amelia and Chris's relationship, I admit I felt a bit lost during some of the conversations they had about certain literature because I'm not familiar with those books. But I liked their interaction. They got along well. They both were comfortable around each other and seemed to enjoy the discussions they shared with each other. I even forgot there was a six year age difference between them, and it just made me want them together even more.

Good Oil is a quick read, and the ending of the book doesn't give complete closure, but I'm satisfied with the way it ended. It's a coming-of-age story about two people who are in different stages of their life, and I would recommend it to those who aren't looking for a perfect resolution.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Read & reviewed for the Aussie YA Challenge.


  1. I never heard of this book before, but I just added it too the list. I like the sound of it.