Good Oil
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Good Oil

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  3,962 ratings  ·  764 reviews
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 Woolwor...more
Paperback, 283 pages
Published August 2010 by Allen & Unwin (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nataliya

It seems that almost every book with young characters runs a risk of becoming a mixture of love story and coming-of-age journey - a combination that can easily turn stale, grounded in tropes, cliché-filled pseudo-deep conclusions and quasi-sophistication.
After all, the pains of growing up are far from unique. They seem stereotypical for a reason - we all have been there.

And yet, while you are there, caught in the moments - the years, actually - of painful transition "in no-man’s-land between th
...more
Tatiana
Aug 25, 2011 Tatiana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Melina Marchetta fans
Recommended to Tatiana by: Lisa O.
Shelves: aus-nz, 2011, favorites, ya
As seen on The Readventurer

This book spoke to me like only very few do. It fit me like a perfect glove.

From the opening scenes when 15-year old Amelia is totally in love with and obsesses over her too-old-for-her co-worker Chris (oh, those simultaneously horrifying and sweet K-Mart check-out flashbacks of Justin, cold sweat, mumbling and crimson cheeks); to the humor, in equal parts witty, deprecating and pain-filled (Chris buys a sixpack of beer on the way to Rino’s. James Squire something-or-...more
Nomes
4.5 stars :)

Funny and true and sophisticated and charming and brilliantly Australian. Reading this book just felt like a breath of fresh air. I completely fell in love with it, it struck a chord with me and I know this book will resonate for a long time. In fact, I already can't wait to re-visit it.


It's told from Amelia and Chris's POV - but not in alternating chapters - more in chunks - first from Amelia, and then from Chris. When it swivels to Chris's POV it rewinds in time which was brilliant...more
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
Actual rating: 4.5 stars!
Lately I’ve been lucky enough to add a few books to my all-time-favorites list, all of them Australian. Raw Blue, for example, left me with this feeling of beauty and despair that just won’t go away. I realize that I’ve been going on and on about Aussie authors and that I’d even threatened to move there at one point, but I see no reason to stop. Good Oil is just another proof of how special and engrossing their writing style usually is.

This story is about 15-year-old Am...more
Flannery
Amelia Hayes works at the “Land of Dreams,” also known as Woolworth’s. (which isn’t American Woolworth’s but instead a Australian grocery store. Who knew? I just read about it on Wikipedia) For a large part of this book I was picturing them working in a Rite Aid/CVS type deal and I couldn’t figure out how they could have so many registers. *facepalm* Also, they wear bow ties? Anyway, she works there a few times a week to earn money while she finishes up high school. Most of her co-workers are va...more
Lisa O.
Aug 12, 2011 Lisa O. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lisa O. by: readalong with Maja
Shelves: australian, ya-lit
It is always pleasant when you approach a book with certain expectations and then, after reading it, you realize these expectations were widely exceeded.

That's exactly what happened to me with Good Oil. I knew the book is Australian (always a good sign), that it is YA and I thought it would all be about fluff - this theory supported also by the cover that reminded me of a billboard for a Kate Hudson movie. Doesn't the girl there remind you of her?
I also suspected that this would be a coming-of-a...more
Emily May
Mar 30, 2012 Emily May rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Emily May by: Tatiana


Another great aussie novel, only this time I got warm fuzzies instead of gut-wrenching depression. Good Oil is light, funny, occasionally sad, and discusses some important issues in well-written conversations that are as hilarious as they are thought-provoking. It's told from two different perspectives and I think it's the only novel I've read that hasn't bored me when going over the same events from an alternative point of view; it's also probably the only multi-perspective novel where I can't...more
Reynje

4.5 stars

Full disclosure: This review has little to no objectivity. It’s barely even a review. The whole experience of reading Good Oil was so fraught with nostalgia and personal resonance that any ability I had to critically analyse it was chucked out the window before I’d even finished the first chapter.
”Bottom line is – I can’t run my own race. I’m constantly checking what’s happening in the other lanes.” ~ Chris
”Oh, well. Love is pain. Or is it beauty is pain? I wouldn’t know about the latt
...more
Catie
Aug 14, 2011 Catie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Catie by: Flannery
Shelves: ya, read-in-2011
I think that what this book shines with is the simple truth that sometimes the people that you don’t end up with are just as important as those that you do end up with.

I spent quite a lot of time in high school mastering the craft of the unrequited crush: the rehearsed conversations (should the opportunity ever arise), the anticipation, the agony, oh the agony! In one memorable period, when my middle school best friend and I were sadly parted by some trixy school district boundaries, I ended up...more
Giselle
Previously released in Australia under the name Good Oil, Love and Other Perishable Items is one of those reads that are one hundred percent refreshing. You sit, you read, you enjoy the time you spend with it, and then you move on. Nothing profound happens, nothing even that exciting happens. Actually, nothing really happens at all other than an average year in an average teenage girl's life. This is what initially sent me into indecision about how to rate this book after I turned the last page....more
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
4.5 stars
I don't read contemporary YA that often, but when I do, I almost always go for Australian. There's just something about the complex subtlety of their prose that pulls me right in each and every time. I first read Good Oil (title of Aussie edition) almost two years ago and it remans, to this day, one of my favorite contemporary books. It is, after all, yet another proof of how special and engrossing their writing style usually is. There must be something in the water!

This story is about...more
Jo
"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 secti...more
Arlene
Feb 18, 2011 Arlene rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Arlene by: Gift from Albie ((HUGS Thank you!)) TBR Reduction Challenge #4 - Nomes
I am Chris, your friendly staff trainer. You’ll be with me for three hour shifts. I will call you grasshopper and you will call me sensei. And I will give you the good oil. Right?

I don’t even know where to begin with this book. I loved it...let’s start with that. It made me think about a lot of things...there’s another point to offer. But, there’s just so much that makes up this story and to try and dissect it would just be criminal. I had no clue what to expect with Good Oil. Heck, I didn’t eve...more
~Tina~
Oh Gawd! To be a 15 years old again and be that naive little girl who wears her emotions on her sleeve and feels to much and thinks so hard and dreams of a guy who she could never have simply because a few numbers are in the way and your life will never be the same again cause he gave you that kiss that he never shouldn't have and you'll pine away for the rest of your youth, till that One Day he comes strolling back in your life, years later, and proclaims his love for you, finally has come at l...more
Brooke
2.5 - 3 stars.

Okay. I'm just going to get straight to the point - this book was a pretty epic disappointment for me.

Why? It had so much going for it! I loved Amelia, Chris (through Amelia's eyes) made me swoon - but what the hell happened?! It was like... build up, build up, change POV, go back in time, catch up, change POV, climax, sadness, boring talk, the end.

Perhaps the male jerkiness aspect just shirted me off, or the fact that Amelia was so wrapped up with Chris, or the way things panned...more
Nic
He didn’t move straight away. He looked at me and, with full eye-contact for maximum impact, said ‘You are the real thing, youngster. I hope you will never change’. Before moving slowly back to his own register.
I know a compliment when I hear one, even if I don’t fully understand the nature of it. The hammer shot that last nail in one strong blow.


Wow. This is such a honest and heartfelt coming of age story. It brought back so many memories of being 15 trying to figure out the world and of cour...more
Milly
The tears did it for me! I have to give it 5 stars!

Good Oil = Australian slang for useful information, the truth, a good idea. Courtesy of the http://www.koalanet.com.au/australian.... I have to thank my Booker friend Arlene, who shared this very helpful website to get me through the slang in this book, which were numerous IMO. But that just adds to the authenticity of this book, which I enjoyed and appreciated!

Now, let us see if I have any Good Oil to give.

This book might just appear to be anot...more
Albie46
Well, I can't believe how much I loved this book. It's the type of book that perhaps many people would find completely average however to me it struck a real chord.

It's the reasonably familiar story of a fairly naieve 15 yr old girl who develops an all-consuming crush on an older boy at her work. Told through stream of thought diary like entries, from both Amelia and Chris, we as the reader get a very rich insight into the very different thinkings of both the characters.

I think the reason I enjo...more
Jasprit
(4.5 stars)

Good Oil was another book full of Aussie filled goodness which I extremely enjoyed!

Good Oil does a great job of capturing the essence of being a teenager; it reminded me of the many things I wanted to do like go to adult parties, but couldn’t get to do so as I wasn’t considered old enough, experiencing that fluttery feeling in your chest when you see the guy you’ve been crushing on for ages, having a big smile plastered on your face as soon as someone mentions his name, having the w...more
Megan
Dec 27, 2011 Megan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Megan by: Tatiana
It really must be something in the water down there. Laura Buzo has that Melina Marchetta quality to her writing. Good Oil was all consuming while I was reading it, but when everything was said and done it is hard to place what is so special about this book. That is, the uniqueness of the book seems to stem from such well-rounded characters and true to life scenarios... which shouldn't be such a great feat from writers. But apparently it is.

Good Oil is the story of a fifteen year old girl with...more
Isamlq
I love the cover. Amelia looks absolutely ecstatic, and like a good friend of mine, I found myself wondering, What the hell is she laughing about? That’s just one of the reasons I went out and got this. It seems I am having a love/hate thing going for Australian YA. I have loved every single book that I have managed to get my hands on. But HATE the fact that it’s almost IMPOSSIBLE to find them over here.

I need more books just like this one.

Amelia is a fifteen year old in love with a 21 year old...more
Alexa

My review can also be found on my blog Collections.

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,...more
Ariana
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shirley Marr
The Good Oil is an example of what is absolutely right with comtemporary Aussie YA fiction! Did I have massive expectations coming into this book with all the rave reviews and the shortlisting for the 2011 Prime Minister's Awards and the fact that the blurb on the back made me think I would love this? Of course I did. And the fact that it melted my heart at the end and made me give it four stars despite the risk of me over-hyping it is testament to that.

I loved 15 year old Amelia, who to me read...more
Kelly
I kind of loved this one!

This book reminded me of a mixture of CK Kelly Martin's contemporary reads with Lia Hills's "The Beginner's Guide to Living." This isn't a typical YA novel, in that it features a character who is 21-then-22 in the story along side the 15-then-16 year old. Both Chris and Amelia have fantastic and distinct voices.

Amelia takes a job at Coles, a local grocery store, and that's where she meets and falls for Chris, the much-older-than-her boy. They develop a relationship, but...more
Keertana
Wow. I am utterly speechless at the moment. I have never read a book like Good Oil before. A book so philosophical, so deep, that it was able to speak to me on an entirely new level. Everything about this book was perfect. Everything.

The novel introduces us to our protagonist: Amelia. Amelia is young, fifteen years old, smart, talented, works in a store after school, and is utterly besotted with her co-worker Chris. Chris is twenty-two, listens to Amelia, makes her smile, and opens her up to a...more
Ceecee
A 15-year old and a 21-year old? How will that ever work out?

But somehow, Laura Buzo managed to pull off telling a story about a 15 year old girl who falls for her 21 year old coworker, in this novel about first love, growing up, and moving on.

Sometimes I think, I really must be a 15-year old trapped in a 23 year old body. I was able to relate with Amelia maybe because I'm in a certain point in my life like her, and I loved her narrations. You're in love with a guy but you don't know what to do...more
Jill
This book is about two things: a teenage crush and becoming a “grown-up.” Unfortunately, these subjects are never distant from clichés and they are often presented in a shallow, stereotypical way. In Love and Other Perishable Items, however, Buzo writes about these two universal experiences with exceptional depth and feeling.

Buzo somehow manages to weave together two disparate realms of experience: the high school feeling when you suddenly become giddily aware of the complexity of the world aro...more
Katie G
I absolutely loved this book. I am also biased, as the reason I love this book so much is because it brings me back to myself at nineteen, working a crappy job alongside a cute, funny guy (coincidentally named Chris) who was four-five years older than me and completely out of my league, even though we talked all the time about everything. Reading this book was seriously like reading an alternate universe fan fiction of my own life. It took me several days to really get into the book because I ha...more
aidanadia
I love reading stories set in Australia. I love knowing a landmark that’s been identified in the story (“Hey, I know Hyde Park! I was there just yesterday!”). I love hearing characters engage in Aussie vernacular. I love the referencing to Australian things, like the HSC or in the case of Good Oil, Woolworths, which is one of the biggest grocery stores here. I can read about Walmart all I like, but Woolies holds more meaning for me. Stories such as these offer a sense of escapism that is very cl...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Questioning age 1 12 Feb 09, 2014 09:40AM  
Sequel? 5 64 Dec 25, 2013 12:15AM  
Seriously confused. What is the title of this book: "Love and Other Perishables" or "Good Oil"? 3 50 May 20, 2013 05:45PM  
Goodreads Librari...: differences between editions 4 100 Jul 25, 2012 10:33AM  
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Laura Buzo was born and grew up in Sydney, middle of three daughters. Growing up she loved swimming, riding horses, tennis, netball, running, chocolate and above all, reading. After university, Laura worked as a social worker in various acute and community-based mental health settings in Sydney. In 2005 she took some time away from work to start writing her first novel, Good Oil. Laura is still wo...more
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“I can't run my own race. I'm constantly checking what's happening in the other lanes.” 52 likes
“She even takes the goings-on of fictitious characters personally.” 44 likes
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