Author: Vivi Barnes
Release Date: February 3
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Source: Review copy proved by Entangled Teen (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check this book out on Goodreads.
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? (Source: Goodreads)
Alexis gets caught stealing at SmartMart and fears she’ll be arrested. Instead they give her a job to try and help her avoid a life or crime. SmartMart is notorious for its weird customers and weirder staff so Alexis is not pleased. Until she meets gorgeous Grayson, but it turns out he’s actually loner Noah from her school. Despite her reservations Alexis learns to like the job and the people, especially, it seems, Noah.
This story was cute and I definitely enjoyed it. I think it’s not the best book I’ve ever read, but it was definitely enjoyable. I liked the plot especially, which made me think of Liz Czukas’s Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless (my review for this one comes out next week). I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters or writing. This book was definitely a fun, light read which surprised me with some interesting twists and turns. It caught my off guard how quickly I wound up reading this book (less than 24 hours!) so it’s definitely a fun, fast book.
The plot really made this book for me. I find the idea of teenagers working in a grocery store, which is super believable first of all, really cute. I think it’s fun and realistic, which makes the story relatable. I think this book took the grocery store setting and really worked some interesting twists into it. There are some great side plots as well about softball, beauty pageants, and abuse families. There’s a wealth of interesting content in this book which makes it a really interesting read.
I think the characters were a little lacking. I found Alexis shockingly naive and judgemental, which made her a little difficult to relate to. I liked Noah, his initially introduction was really excellent and set up a good base. I think the issue with Noah however was that Barnes made Noah too much. He was too many tropes rolled into one, the bad boy, the loser, the sweetheart, the shy boy, the confident man, he was all of these and more which made him basically nothing. I think Ruthie was an interesting character who wasn’t explored enough and was used as a joke fairly often which was uncomfortable. Most of the character aren’t explored enough, including the abusive Tom.
While I overall found the book sweet and enjoyable, I don’t think the writing was top notch. The emotional depth required to tackle the topics in this book was just completely lacking. I couldn’t take the emotions seriously in most of the serious scenes because the depth of emotions in all the characters was just nonexistent. I think this book also relied on the over-the-top-high-school-drama plot too much as well.
I liked this book, it certainly wasn’t my favourite, but it was a great quick read which would be perfect for a refresher after reading something heavy. I think fans of Jennifer Echols and Kasie West would enjoy this book.