REVIEW and GIVEAWAY
Paper or Plastic
by Vivi Barnes
Paper or Plastic is currently on tour with YA Bound Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt, my review, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
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 thing stranger than the staff is 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 completely below her social sphere - Noah Grayson. Trying to balance her out-of-control mother, her starting spot on the school softball team, and her secret crush on the school geek makes for one crazy summer. But ultimately, could the worst store in the world be the best thing that ever happened to her?
Oh those first jobs - sometimes we wanted to poke our eyes out with a fork! Of course, working in a big box retail store isn’t the worst thing in the world, but for a girl who had counted on spending her summer playing softball and hanging out at the beach, it wasn’t exactly ideal. Lex had a rocky start at SmartMart before she realized how great the place really was. Isn’t that the way it usually works? ~ Vivi Barnes
My second week of work started with training in bagging groceries. It wasn’t quite as boring as greeter, and at least I could use half a brain to sort out frozen items from pantry items. Noah asked Ruthie to train me, and he never so much as looked at me. I guess he was still mad. I couldn’t blame him.
Ruthie cackled loudly every time I mixed items that weren’t supposed to be mixed. It made me learn a whole lot faster, since I couldn’t stand the constant tee-heeing when I’d get something wrong. And unfortunately, I seemed to get a lot wrong in the beginning. Sometimes she’d take over and I’d watch her. One thing was for sure - Ruthie could organize items into bags faster than anyone I’d ever seen. All the frozen food together, boxes together - never a mistake like putting a can on top of a loaf of bread like I did. But even the fact that Ruthie laughed every time I’d screw up wasn’t the worst part.
No. The biggest pain in the ass about this position was that I had to ask every single customer if he or she wanted paper or plastic.
“Most places don’t ask anymore,” Bessie had told me on my first day. “But at SmartMart, we want to offer our customers every possible convenience.”
Convenience? Some of the customers looked annoyed at even having an option. They’d sling their environmentally friendly reusable bags at me, scowling as if the offer of evil plastic or foul paper was offensive. I even stopped for a while, until Mr. Hanson passed by once and said quietly, “Don’t forget to ask about paper or plastic, Alexis.”
Praise for the Book
"If you're looking for a fun and quick Young Adult read that's sweet and full of heart then I highly recommend this book. The summary doesn't even do it justice." ~ Sheri Boston
"This is a pretty sweet book, with an interesting and well-paced plot. There is more than a hint of domestic violence, so beware that trigger. The innocent romance is age-appropriate to teen readers and the life-lessons Lex learns are suitable for everybody on the face of the Earth." ~ V. Rundell
" ... this was a good, cute read. I'd recommend this to fans of YA romance or contemporaries and people who have had summer jobs at places like 'SmartMart'." ~ Jill
"Even though this is romance, it's not your 'love at first sight and everything works out' type fantasy - the problems that they face are real and it makes the story even more enjoyable. A fun and quick read, this story will keep you clued to the pages hoping for the best! Five stars for a fun and believable plot, well-developed characters, and an overall enjoyable story." ~ E. VanZwoll
"The book is an adorable sweet romance but there are also other things going on. Like Alzheimer's, which if you have ever known someone with that awful disease, it is not easy for anyone. Not the person that has it or their family. Also there is the issue of abuse as well. I think if you have ever worked in retail definitely read this book. If you haven’t ... well still read the book. I loved it." ~ Jen @ Library of a Book Witch
By Lynda Dickson
Sixteen-year-old Alexis (Lex) gets caught shoplifting a lipstick and, to make up for it, her mother arranges for her to spend the summer working at SmartMart. This arrangement interferes with Lex volunteering at the softball camp for underprivileged kids and with her own practice sessions, putting her position on the team in jeopardy. Lex also has problems at home, competing with her seven-year-old sister Aurora (Rory) for her mother's attention and approval, and dealing with the deteriorating condition of her beloved grandmother, who has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Her first day at SmartMart doesn't go too badly - until she learns about a Code B! Things start looking up when she meets her supervisor, the "uber-hot" Noah Grayson. But why does he look so familiar? When Lex finally realizes who he is, she tries to avoid him and keep her growing feelings for him hidden from her friends Bryce, Court, and Syd. This leads to some awkward situations, especially with Bryce. If it comes down to having to pick between Noah and Bryce, who will she choose?
The SmartMart setting allows for the introduction of numerous quirky characters (kind Mr. Hanson, Lex's on-the-job trainer Bessie, weird old Jake, bubbly Ruthie, bitchy Roxanne, boring Merrill, the phantom prankster) and provides the basis for a number of amusing situations (being the official store greeter, playing rollercoaster cart, box bowling, dealing with difficult customers such as the coupon diva). Lex is a likable character, with her cute habit of keeping score and her loyalty to her friends and family. I especially love her relationship with her grandmother.
Paper or Plastic is full of family problems, work relationships, personal relationships, romance, softball, beauty pageants, Alzheimer's, humor, first love, and Florida's crazy summer weather. And, while this story is complete, I can see a sequel coming!
An absolute delight.
About the Author
Vivi Barnes is the author of Olivia Twisted and Paper or Plastic. She was raised on a farm in East Texas where her theater-loving mom and cowboy dad gave her a unique perspective on life. Now living in the magic and sunshine of Orlando, Florida, she divides her time writing, working, goofing off with her husband and three kids, and avoiding dirty dishes.
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