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. As a result, 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 bizarre 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?
After reading the first few pages of this book, I actually expected it to head along the lines of an overdramatic teen love story. Thankfully, the author chose to take the plot and its characters down a different alley that transformed the novel into more than just a casual read.
The story follows Alexis Dubois, a girl who supposedly has it all. However, when she steals a cheap tube of lipstick from the wretched SmartMart, her mother forces her to take on the position of SmartMart staff member for the summer rather than getting a criminal record.
Not only does she begin to enjoy working at SmartMart, she also begins to fall for the very suave but sometimes shy manager, Noah Grayson. After a few days of working at SmartMart, Lex finally remembers who Noah is. Not only is he a student at her school, he is also public enemy number one after he allegedly ratted her best friend and popular guy, Bryce, out about the spray painting artwork he and a few other guys did to a rival school a couple years ago. Bryce and the rest of the school has had a long term grudge against Noah since Bryce got temporarily kicked off his baseball team for the stunt especially when the biggest game was right around the corner. Unfortunately, Lex can’t hide the growing feelings she has for Noah especially when she finds out that he feels the same way too. Soon enough she’ll have to tell Bryce and her other friends about her latest beau.
However, this girl has more than just a love dilemma going on in her life. While her younger sister, Rory, is the apple of her mother’s eye, Lex is just a forgotten fruit left to wilt under the tree. Her mother has an unhealthy obsessions with beauty pageants (even though all beauty pageants revolve around unhealthy obsessions) and Rory loves being the centre of attention. Lex, on the other hand, has had her fill of beauty pageants and renounces any form of beautification. Due to this, her mother always sees anything Lex does as disappointing and doesn’t seem to expect much from her. When things got really heated with her mother, Lex would always have her grandmother to run to and who would make everything better. Sadly, her grandmother has Alzheimer’s and is gradually forgetting more and more each day.
As if this wasn’t enough to handle already, she has to come to terms with who Noah really is and what it would take to be his girlfriend.
I’d like to say that Noah is my favourite character but I’d be lying – Lex is. Despite the fact that I thought poorly of her in the beginning, her true character came out later down in the story. She just grew on me. She is resilient throughout the entire story and doesn’t bend when her friends give her crap for dating Noah. In the beginning, she wanted to hide the fact that he even worked at the same store as her but as her feelings for him grew so did her bravery to face the ridicule of her friends. Still, what named her as my favorite character slot was how well her character matured over the space of 380 pages. She went from being a snooty, spoiled and immature girl to an understanding, opinionated and strong-willed girl. It was really entertaining to watch her character evolve.
Needless to say, the plot was well laid out, constantly held my attention and I didn’t expect the ending the author threw at her readers. Will I read it again? Definitely. Would I recommend it to anyone else? Only if they’ve got a strong heart for books that throw curveballs at them.
About the Author
Vivi Barnes is the author of Olivia Twisted and the upcoming release, 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.
Check out her website: www.vivibarnes.com
Book Tour Organized by: