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Good Oil by Laura Buzo

February 2011, no. 328

Good Oil by Laura Buzo

Allen & Unwin, $18.99 pb, 283 pp, 9781741759976

Good Oil by Laura Buzo

February 2011, no. 328

There is much to like in this début Young Adult novel: its straightforward storytelling, distinctive central characters, well-tuned adolescent dialogue, and humorous depiction of first love. Fifteen-year-old Amelia attends a girls-onlyschool, has two sisters – one away at university, the other just three years old – and a theatre director father who has a hands-off approach to parenting. Her experience of boys is limited to friends’ boyfriends and to those she encounters on the school bus, of whom she is snobbishly dismissive. Amelia is socially naïve, and must learn fast when she gets a part-time job at Woolworths. But she is smart and has a sharp intellect, fed by a ‘weird’ English teacher whose text choices for her Year Ten girls include The Bell Jar, Othello, Great Expectations, The Great Gatsby, and The Feminine Mystique.

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