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Love and Other Perishable Items - Laura Buzo Bittersweet debut novel from Australia. A 15 year old girl falls in love with a co-worker; unfortunately he is a Senior in college and initially only sees her as the newest teenie grocery store employee he has to train.

Amelia is a middle child; her older sister just left for college and her younger sister is only 3. Her father is a director, often gone for plays or movies. When he is home he is a petty tyrant, barking orders but doing nothing to help around the house (can't even be bothered to put up stuff when he has to make his own lunch). Her mother is overworked, rushing from a teaching job at a hell-hole high school to picking up the youngest, running by the grocery store, and coming home to cook before essentially collapsing. Amelia is initially clueless as to how much her mother does and how little support she gets.

Since money is tight, Amelia gets an afterschool job at a grocery store so she'll have her own spending money. Chris, the college student, is appointed to train her. They develop a rapport and are soon discussing books and philosophy on breaks. Since she's underage she doesn't get to tag along when the older employees go out drinking after work so she has limited time with him. However, that doesn't stop an initial infatuation blooming into love for him.

You learn from Chris' journals that he's had his heart broken by a classmate who neglected to mention she was only taking a break from her boyfriend back home. So he's trying to get back in the saddle again and rates his prospects with various classmates and co-workers (none of them Amelia, who he only sees as a geeky and slightly repressed girl way too young for him). Over time he grows to like her more but the age difference is just too much for him; if she was only a couple of years older he would go for it.

***** SPOILER ALERT *************

Eventually they go to a party, she gets drunk, kissses him and confesses her feelings. He freaks out, tells her it won't work between them, avoids her at the grocery store, then doesn't tell her he's quitting and taking a job in Japan. She doesn't go to his farewell party because she is heartbroken. He comes by her house before he leaves and gives her his journals so she can read how he felt about her. She is still convinced that he is the guy for her, she'll just have to wait until she's old enough that the 6 year age difference won't matter. Her best friend has to drag her into actually participating in high school rather than moping around waiting for Chris to get back to see if his feelings have changed.