Review: Paper or Plastic by Vivi Barnes

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Paper or Plastic by Vivi BarnesPaper or Plastic by Vivi Barnes
Published by Entangled Teen on February 3, 2015
Pages: 352
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

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?

Paper or Plastic was amazing, adorable and unputdownable! No, seriously, I read it in four hours! And I only put it down once to take care of the dog and do dinner! The characters in this book were all incredible and realistic and they all tugged at my heartstrings. Pair all that with Vivi Barnes’ incredible writing and you’ve got a winner!

I loved Alexis (Lex). She’s pretty, fairly rich and popular. She had some moments where she was a bit oblivious and didn’t realize how fortunate she was compared to others. But she never seemed stuck up or snobby, though she had a few moments where she acted as though she were above it all. I know that’s a bit contradictory, but it’s just how she was. She took her mom’s criticism in stride (for the most part). Her relationship with her sister seemed very typical of siblings (they were fine one moment, fighting another). I loved the relationship she had with her grandmother, though some of those moments were hard to read. I was really pleased with Lex’s character development from beginning to end.

Noah was so swoony and adorable. In the beginning, he was a bit of an ass to Lex and really, really hard on her. For someone who had been horribly misjudged, he was a very judgey person. He definitely had some trust issues going on and he had a hard time opening his heart. I don’t blame him for that, considering the things he was dealing with. But it killed me to see him shutdown just when he should have been opening himself up. I don’t think he had as much character development as Lex, but he definitely made progress.

I completely, 100% shipped Lex and Noah. They were so funny and adorable together, I found myself chuckling throughout their encounters. I think I might have even blushed a few times. In some ways, they were complete opposites, yet they complemented each other perfectly. Even when they fought, I still rooted for them.

Court and Syd were… interesting, to say the least. Court was the slightly bitchy friend and Syd was like the peace-keeper. I definitely liked Syd better, but Court had her moments where she pulled through for Lex. Bryce was a fun character, though his ability to hold a grudge kind of knocked him down a few pegs, in my opinion. He was so mean and bitter and, considering he and Lex were supposed to be such amazing friends, he wasn’t very nice or fair to her.

I loved Bessie! She was such a kind person, yet pretty sassy, considering Lex saw her as a grandmother-type figure. I was scared to death for her at the end, though! Ruthie was an annoying character in the beginning. But the more I got to know her and her story, the more I sympathized with her and felt bad for the hand she was dealt.

I couldn’t stand Lex’s mom in the beginning. Just six pages in and I was ready to slap her. She was so dismissive of Lex and her dreams and aspirations. But she sort of made up for her behavior by the end of the book. Lex’s sister definitely had her brat moments, too. And don’t even get me started on Roxanne… Wow. I wanted to punch her face in on more than one occasion!

And Lex’s grandmother… I can’t. I LOVED her grandmother, but those parts were the hardest for me to read. I teared up a few times. I can’t say much more without spoilers, but I will say I feared for her fate and it was just really tough to read the parts with her.

The ending was… insane and epic and so, so intense. Seriously, my heart was in my throat the whole time. The ending was definitely one of my favorite parts of the book. It kind of reminded me of Magnolia by Kristi Cook!!

Overall, Paper or Plastic was an amazing, heartwarming read! I’m probably a little bit biased because I ADORE Vivi Barnes! But if you love contemporary and you’re looking for a feel-good book that you can’t put down, look no further! I highly recommend this one!!!


Review: Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Olivia Twisted by Vivi BarnesOlivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes
Published by Entangled Teen on November 5, 2013
Pages: 352
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon


He tilts my chin up so my eyes meet his, his thumb brushing lightly across my lips. I close my eyes. I know Z is trouble. I know that being with him is going to get me into trouble. I don’t care.

At least at this moment, I don’t care.

Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Olivia might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Olivia and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…


I can picture Liv’s face: wide-eyed, trusting. Her smooth lips that taste like strawberry Fanta.

It was just a kiss. That’s all. She’s just like any other girl.

Except that she’s not.

Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.

Olivia Twisted was an intriguing and imaginative modern re-telling of Oliver Twist.

In the beginning, Olivia was withdrawn, for obvious reasons. Throughout the novel, though, she grows into a strong character, able to say no and stand up for herself. There aren’t enough strong female heroine’s in YA, so I loved that Olivia was strong, with a mind of her own. There’s no insta-love with Z, which was refreshing. She was attracted to him, yes, but she didn’t fall all over him. The build-up was slow and realistic. Honestly, Olivia and Z felt like the most believable, realistic YA couple I’ve seen in a long time.

I was not a fan of Z in the beginning. He was too cocky, too full of himself. But throughout the novel, he showed signs of the person he was underneath all that. He had moments of vulnerability that softened me to him, made me like him more. He was like Olivia’s Knight in Shining Armor at certain moments, and I loved how protective he was of her.

I was really suspicious of Olivia’s foster parents right from the beginning. But it was nothing like I expected. I was actually pretty caught off guard by what happened with them. On the flip side, a character I really loved was Sam. She was so fun and easy-going with Olivia, yet so hardened around Z. She had a kind of competitive rivalry with him that almost reminded me of sibling rivalry. It was an interesting dynamic. She always seemed kind of young and vulnerable, despite her tough-as-nails exterior.

The ending was very intriguing. Not only was it not what I expected, but it also broke some YA stereotypes. It wasn’t a cliche happily ever after. I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t go into further detail. But it was one of my top five favorite endings to a YA novel.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved Olivia, I loved the relationship that she builds with Z and I love how realistic and non-cliche it was. I loved that it broke some of the YA stereotypes. I would absolutely recommend this book to others!