“Good Oil” came across to me as a witty yet true to focus coming-of-age novel. It’s told between the perspectives of 15-year-old Amelia and 21-year-old Chris, two individuals that happen to work at the same grocery, and Chris is assigned to be the “sensei” to Amelia’s “grasshopper” in training her. Hence the novel’s title of “Good Oil” since in Aussie speak it means something akin to “useful information”.
Amelia falls head over heels for Chris, who seems lively and charming in his banter towards her, but this novel is much more than just a sweet-crush romance – it’s more along the lines of a novel about growing up and learning to face the realities of one’s life. I personally enjoyed reading between the perspectives of Amelia and Chris, because they both sound like authentic young adults – Amelia with the struggles with her family and being old enough to be taken seriously in her opinions and affections, and Chris with his struggles with getting older, lamenting a love lost, and deciding what he wants to do with his life.
There were some moments where I thought the prose slowed the pace of the work down (i.e. Amelia and Chris’s explications on feminism), and I thought that the ending, while potent in its overall message, came a little too stilted to resonate with me fully. But other than those, I thought this was an enjoyable novel, and well worth the read.
Overall score: 3.5/5