A fun, fast-paced teen romance full of heart, light and enjoyable characters, Vivi Barnes has added in some serious themes that add to, rather than detract from the story.
Paper or Plastic
Alexis is caught shoplifting but in exchange for not calling the police, she is expected to work at the SmartMart by the store’s owner. Not particularly interested in the other employees of the supermarket, she’s a bit of a tough pill at first, until the quirkiness and characters who work there start to befriend her.
From there, Alexis shows the girl she was meant to be: funny, honest, loving and caring; sure she had those teen moments, but overall she was a young girl learning her way in the world. Her manager Noah is one of the reasons for this change: first offering friendship and showing Alexis that it is possible to be a teen and still think of others first, his character was lovely. Working multiple hours and jobs he’s earning extra money so his little sister can continue to enter beauty pageants: her favorite hobby. Noah never gets resentful or fussy about doing all that work, even as Barnes does add in some of the ‘not so wonderful’ elements about the pageant industry. These are mentioned, never dwelled on, but give readers something more to think about.
Other characters in the grocers are introduced, with bits about their lives, their quirks and even their friendship with Alexis. They added depth and a fullness, and brought some new issues for readers: showing that not all is as it seems. Fortunately, Barnes avoids the love triangle in this: while Alexis does have some doubts about her choice of Noah, it is more a loyalty to another friend who believes Noah has mistreated him than a triangle. As Alexis determines what it is she really wants, the relationship between the two really starts to blossom and become a romance, fully grounded in friendship.
A fun, quick read that isn’t as fluffy as others I have read with teens at the center: this story is sure to entertain readers looking for characters that feel familiar and possible.
Title: Paper or Plastic
Author: Vivi Barnes
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Teen Reads
Published on: 3 February 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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Welcome to SmartMart, where crime pays minimum wage...
Busted. Alexis Dubois just got caught shoplifting a cheap tube of lipstick at the local SmartMart. She doesn’t know what’s worse—disappointing her overbearing beauty-pageant-obsessed mother for the zillionth time…or her punishment. Because Lex is forced to spend her summer working at the store, where the only things stranger than the staff are the customers.
Now Lex is stuck in the bizarro world of big-box retail. Coupon cutters, jerk customers, and learning exactly what a “Code B” really is (ew). And for added awkwardness, her new supervisor is the totally cute—and adorably geeky—Noah Grayson. Trying to balance her out-of-control mother, her pitching position on the softball team, and her secret crush on the school geek makes for one crazy summer. But ultimately, could the worst job in the world be the best thing that ever happened to her?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.