Monday, April 13, 2015

Paper or Plastic by Vivi Barnes

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?

My Thoughts:
This was cute. Sweet. Fun. Fluffy.

I could probably throw a few more adjectives at ya, but I'm gonna move on to the review now:

So I get that Mr. Hanson, the store manager, is an incredibly nice guy. But. If a teenage girl was caught stealing from a store, would the manager of the store be all, "Hey, no big deal. Why don't you just come work for me and I'll pay you?" If a manager was going to make a thieving girl work at his store, I imagine it would more likely be working for free as a kind of community service. Right off the bat, the premise of this entire novel bugged me. Why couldn't Lex's overbearing mom have just gotten her the job without her permission? Then Lex would have been just as bitter about it but the story would have been more believable.

Ahem. Moving on.

This was a very quick, easy read. Barnes' writing style flows nicely and I had a pleasant reading experience. But. There were a lot of repeated ideas and lots of over-explanation of feelings and stuff. There was lots of, "I don't like Noah like that... Do I?" Got old.

Barnes had a nice way of making all the characters likable. And familiar. I felt I'd known all these people and liked their company. And while some characters felt a bit flat, most of them were rounded enough that I was OK with them. And this book is set in Florida!! I've been reading a lot of books by Floridians lately and I love it!

One really great aspect of this book was the fact that there were multiple story lines. Many romances fall into the trap of only being about the romance. Literally we learn about nothing else other than the way these two people happened to fall in love. Thankfully, this book delves into other stuff like overbearing mothers, sports politics, child beauty pageants, declining-in-health grandmothers, retail life, abusive relationships, the intricacies of friendships. There's a lot going on in this book. I love that. Some themes were a bit shallow (like the whole friendship theme and the way all of Alexis's friends hated Noah--it was dumb) but I appreciated that they were there at all.

Barnes' writing style kept me reading; I wanted to know what was going to happen. I wanted to see these characters through to the end (and the end was actually pretty great!). I liked the characters, I liked the story and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a sweet romancey read with just a bit more depth to it.

Sexual Content: Moderate
Language: Moderate
Violence: Mild
Drugs/Alcohol: Mild

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