January 2, 2013

book review: the green ticket

A young college student tries to answer the question, "What do I want to do with my life?" followed by "How far am I willing to go to accomplish it?" while tackling long latent issues stemming from her past in Samantha March's The Green Ticket (read an excerpt here).

Alex Abrams is a junior in college who is taking business classes without really knowing what she wants to do. At the same time, after living off of her supportive older sister for years, she wants to have more financial independence. When she sees a posting for a job as manager of a salon and spa, Alex knows she can do the job if the bosses are willing to take a chance on a college student.

Her prayers are seemingly answered when she is hired. But what she thought was a dream turns out to be a nightmare, when her philandering boss wants to pay Alex off for her silence regarding his bad behavior. She could use the added money, but questions whether or not she can do it at the cost of her morals. With a band of tight-knit friends to support her, Alex quickly learns the lesson that appearances are deceiving, and the truth may not always be pretty.

Alex made for a good narrator. At times she seemed a little too perfect: keeping a workout schedule and sticking to it, handling her money responsibly, eating salads instead of ordering pizza, landing her dream job at 20. Then she makes some questionable decisions that jeopardize her morals, not to mention her academic and professional futures. This keeps her more human and relatable, giving her room to grow and change as a character.

It was good to see her have trouble balancing her life as a student and a professional, because realistically, that is what would have happened. Add in her moral dilemma at work, and the story became intriguing in addition to realistic.

Her relationship with friends was enjoyable to watch. These girls are a tight-knit group who do everything together and were a solid portrayal of the relationships modern girls have in their college years. The girls are imperfect and sometimes act out, which made them perfect for the story. College students and recent graduates are an audience too often forgot in the publishing world, and it is refreshing to see March continue to highlight this group in her work.

At times, Alex and her friends' conversations and scenes added a little too much chatter. The beginning of the story gave a lot of character background that could have been revealed later to add more action earlier. However, all of this was well-written enough it did not detract from my overall enjoyment.

As a lover of romance, I was glad to have a little of it amidst the rest of the story. The young man who sweeps into Alex's life is definitely crush-worthy and enhances the story without taking too much attention from other major aspects of the book.

With a negative history involving men -- a father who abandoned her, her roommate's boyfriend, a series of lackluster dates and now a philandering boss -- examples of good men, such as her brother-in-law and her new love interest and his friends was was a positive inclusion to show a better balance. By seeing these better examples of men, Alex is able to have faith in the opposite gender, which shows her growth as a character.

Though seemingly a story about a young woman finding herself and building a future, at its heart, The Green Ticket is about friendship. This story features the good, the bad and the in between when it comes to friends. There are examples of friends who will use tough love or hugs to lead a friend in the direction best for her. There are friends who appear to be perfect, but are back-stabbing and unfaithful in reality. Alex is fortunate the first kind is there to have her back when the second kind mess with her life.

March shows she is growing as a writer with her second book. Though I enjoyed her first book, this one was even stronger, leaving me excited to see the world she creates in her third book. The story is entertaining and filled with dynamic characters that would certainly appeal to a young and new adult audiences while also drawing on fans of Chick Lit.

Rating: 4 of 5

Be sure to check back tomorrow for my interview with Samantha March.

About the Author
Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and her debut novel Destined to Fail. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

Contact Samantha
http://www.samanthamarch.com/
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