Paper or Plastic - Vivi Barnes

Paper or Plastic by Vivi Barnes
Genre: YA Contemporary

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Blurb (on back of book)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?


I LOVED this book! This is definitely one of my favorite contemporary reads of the summer so far! I thoroughly enjoyed this book through and through.

This book is about a girl named Alexis "Lex" who has made a mistake when she decides to go along with her friend and shoplift... stealing some lipsticks is what she gets caught doing. Her friend gets off easy because her dad is a lawyer, but Alexis is stuck working at the store she stole from, SmartMart, where only strange and weird people shop at and the workers are weird. There have been comedy videos on YouTube of the store, and it's basically a place where most people would not be proud of working at.

Alexis's mom forces her to work at the store because her mom thinks it'll help in the long run and she doesn't want her daughter's crime to follow her and her family around forever. Alexis gives in and starts work at SmartMart, against her will.

Everything is basically bad, like she expected, except for her "uber hot" manager who's only a year older... cue hot guy: Noah Grayson. She is basically infatuated with him and he's the only good thing at work... until she finds out who he really is. Turns out, he's a year ahead of her at her high school, and he's the geeky dorky dude who sits alone. He is also one of Alexis's best friend's archenemies because he ratted out her friend for graffitiing and basically ruining his life...


So now Alexis has to deal with her feelings in secret, though she finally does spill the beans to her other two closest friends, Syd and Court, who is also Bryce's, the archenemy, girlfriend.

I loved this book so much! Everything was all very well-drawn out and had a good plotline that made sense and wasn't all over the place. The characters also had real personalities and I felt like I almost knew them in real life.

Alexis was sometimes kind of annoying because she never admitted her own feelings to herself or to anyone else... she also worried too much and was too much of a fake popular girl. I never got that cool kid vibe from her, but maybe that was because she worked at SmartMart for most of the book. However, I did like how she was determined and brave, which is not something I can say about everyone.

My favorite character was definitely Noah, though Bryce was a close second. I feel like if the main character is a female, then my favorite character is male, and vice versa. Noah was so sweet and strong. I loved how nice he was to his sister, never minding about her being around. He worked two jobs to support his family and he was definitely an awesome son and brother. However, his dad really got on me. Abusive much? This book didn't go too deep into the abuse that Noah received from his dad, but there are some scenes. Just a fair warning.

I cannot be the only one who hated Alexis's mom. I'm sorry, but she was so rude. She only ever cared about her younger daughter and favored her. Aurora was SEVEN YEARS OLD and the parents, especially the mom, already had a big whole college fund for her and talked about her career and future??? JUST BECAUSE HER DAUGHTER DID PAGEANTS? I kind of wanted Aurora to lose just for her to realize that her mom was being dumb about everything.

When I found out that Noah wasn't the one who ratted Bryce out, I was like "I TOLD YOU SO!" because I definitely called that. It was kind of obvious that it was going to be someone else. And who else but his best friend??

I loved the ending! Ruthie was so brave and the tornado was much more serious and made everything come together. Who knew?

Ha, definitely one of my favorite scenes was the time when Noah brought up the fact that Bryce and Alexis looked like much more than friends to him. THAT WAS HILARIOUS TO WATCH JEALOUS NOAH

I would recommend this book to YA readers who love romance!

Main Character: Alexis
Sidekick(s): Noah, Syd, Court, Bryce, etc
Villain(s): Abuse, misunderstandings, etc
Contemporary Elements: This book was all realistic fiction with tons of romance packed in.