{Book Review} Paper or Plastic By: Vivi Barnes

» 2 February, 2015 » 5 Star Review, 5 stars » 1 comment

{Book Review} Paper or Plastic By:  Vivi BarnesPaper or Plastic by Vivi Barnes
(Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Entangled Publishing, LLC on February 3rd 2015
Genres: General, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Amazon five-stars
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?

Alexis Jasmine Dubois did not plan on spending her summer in SmartMart, the store that attracts people of all kinds. When her friend Court convinces her to steal a tube of lipstick and then she gets caught, her only option is work at the store that has been at the punch line of many jokes or have the event on her permanent record. With the thought of disappointing her beauty-pageant obsessed mother at the forefront of her mind, she accepts the job and is determined to make it through the summer. While she’s trying to balance keeping her position as head pitcher on the softball team and dealing with extreme coupon cutters, Noah, her cute and geeky supervisor, makes her new job less miserable. Could this new job, which she thought was going to be the worst in the world, turn out to be one of the best experiences of her life or will she crack under pressure in aisle three?


When she walks in on her first day at the dreaded job and comes face to face with a Code B, Lex begins to think her mother will win yet another battle. After disappointing her by refusing to compete in pageants and opting to play softball, Lex doesn’t see how it could possibly be any worse. Then she sees the cute manager-in-training and decides to try and stick it out for a little while. But then Lex remembers who Grayson—Noah—really is and starts to wonder what else could possibly go wrong.


“My boss was a (unfortunately hot) loner kid from my high school who clearly remembered we were not friends.”


I loved the relationship that Noah and Lex had from the start. At first, it is an extremely tense relationship because of past prejudices that each character had, but as they learn more about one another they soon realize they were both wrong. When she first gets her job at SmartMart, it’s obvious she is not happy to be there, but she learns ways to try and make the best of her situation. Noah, one of the employees least thrilled that she is there, starts to see a side of her that he didn’t know existed, especially when she becomes friends with some of her coworkers. As the unexpected friendship grows into something more, Lex starts to look forward to going to work and seeing Noah.


“Friend zone—that’s where you need to stay, Noah. For my sanity and yours.”


That is not to say that they don’t have issues—the couple comes from two completely different worlds. The two worlds will collide eventually, and Lex has to decide how she will handle the debris. Instead of insinuating a love triangle and Lex having to choose from Bryce, her best friend, or Noah, Barnes created a different type of tension. It was a refreshing change and added a different type of love into the story. I like that Lex didn’t have to choose from which guy she wanted to be her boyfriend, per se, but from whether or not she wanted to keep her integrity a certain friendships.


Like many Young Adult novels, this one was a growing experience. Lex had to mature and learn which things mattered most to her and how to create relationships with people that made it difficult. Not only does she learn a lot about herself, but she also discovers things about other people. Even though the job was meant to teach her a lesson on the perils of stealing, she learns so much more, which helps make her summer more meaningful than she could have possibly imagined.

Moriah (1)

About Vivi Barnes

Vivi Barnes was raised on a farm in East Texas where her theater-loving mom and cowboy dad gave her a unique perspective on life. After college, she convinced her supportive husband to
move with her to be part of the sunshine and magic in Orlando, Florida. On a good day, she manages to divide her time writing, working, reading, goofing off with her three kids, and avoiding dirty dishes. Vivi is a proud member of SCBWI and attends conferences whenever she can.

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