No matter where the setting is or who the main character is, teens will always be teens. It's not about the accent, the home, the culture, but the psychology and emotional stage teens are in that makes a book not necessarily set in the United States a good read for teens living here. The problems don't change, and teens will always struggle to find who they are across the globe. So, let's get started with our travels, shall we?
Amelia isn't lonely. She has friends, a family, and co-workers at the local grocery store she works at. At 15 years old, she is more mature than most and unlike other teens her age, she excels in school, reading the classics such as Great Expectations and enjoying the story.
She's a good daughter too. She doesn't stay out all night and party, she doesn't do drugs, and she doesn't ask for allowance. The only thing missing in Amelia's life is more attention from her parents, and most importantly, love.
Chris is lost. He isn't sure where or what he wants to be or how to get there. Everyone around him seems to be on the right track, but he still lives at home with his parents and works at the local grocery store to make money to go to the university. His sister just moved out and is on her own and he desperately feels the need to flee, especially at 21 years of age. But right now, when school is out, Chris is going to enjoy his life in the pubs, at parties, and getting control of himself after a terrible break-up with the love of his life. The only thing missing from his life is independence, and he isn't quite sure if he's ready for love.
As co-workers, Amelia and Chris spend a lot of time together working side by side, taking breaks together, and talking about the finer points of literature and life. But how they react to each other is very different. Chris's feelings for Amelia are out in the open - he dubs her Young One and looks after her like an older brother would.
Amelia, on the other hand, keeps her feelings for Chris inside. So what if there's a six year age difference? Amelia is quite sure how Chris feels about her. Why else would he give her so much attention and confide in her more than any of the others they work with?
But love is fragile for anyone at anytime, and both of them will find the different types of loves in life as they discover themselves along the way.
Set in Australia, Buzo writes with realism, plain and simple. She captures the main characters in her book not only by their age and actions, but also by contrasting them with other characters that create a juxtaposition readers will understand in order to see the characters become more transparent. This book has the same theme as so many others, and while that may make it a typical read, what does stand out is how close to home Buzo gets when it comes to teens and relationships. Her writing style includes different voices as well as journal and letter entries that allow readers to read "differently" and learn the intricacies that create the whole picture. Is this a book about romance? Hmmmmm....that's where you get to decide.