Posted by Izzy G. on Monday, December 13, 2010
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Release Date: August 10th, 2010
Published by: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Rating: 3.43 stars
Amazon Rating: 4.2 stars
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old high school senior Shannon Card needs money. And lots of it. She's been admitted to Wellesley, but her dad just lost his job, and somehow she has to come up with a year of tuition herself. But Shannon's dream of making big bucks waitressing at the local casino, the Collosio, disappears faster than a gambler's lucky streak. Her boss is a tyrant, her coworker is nuts, and her chances of balancing a tray full of drinks while wearing high-heeled shoes are slim to none. Worse, time is running out, and Shannon hasn't made even half the money she'd hoped.
When Shannon receives a mysterious invitation to join Aces Up, a secret network of highly talented college poker players, at first she thinks No way. She has enough to worry about: keeping her job, winning the coveted math scholarship at school, and tutoring her secret crush, Max. But when Shannon musters up the nerve to kiss Max and he doesn't react at all, the allure of Aces Up and its sexy eighteen-year-old leader, Cole, is suddenly too powerful to ignore.
Soon Shannon's caught up in a web of lies and deceit that makes worrying about tuition money or a high school crush seem like kid stuff. Still, when the money's this good, is the fear of getting caught reason enough to fold?
This fun, sexy, recession-proof story is a bubbly summer read with surprising depth—great for fans of Sarah Mlynowski.
Review: I adored another book by the author, One Night that Changes Everything, so I had very high expectations for this. And I did enjoy it - the synopsis was correct in calling it "bubbly", because this was fun and light, and while it did have a little more to it, it's more of a relaxing read than anything else.
Shannon is a likeable character, and one thing I loved about her was that she was very realistic. She wasn't the prettiest, skinniest girl in the world, just an average teenager, which was shown right away in the beginning of the book when she, a size eight, attempts to squeeze into a size two dress she's required to wear. Probably the best thing about her was her voice. There was humor on nearly every page, and it made her like Shannon all the more. Most of it, while not hilarious, was certainly enough to make me crack a smile.
The one thing I didn't like so much about her were the choices she made. A lot of them were rather stupid, including the decision to work as a cocktail waitress as a seventeen-year-old. I understand that she really wants to go to that college and she needs the money, but there are other ways than getting a fake ID, dressing up in super-tight dresses and painful high heels, and waitressing for rude gamblers, to get money.
The other characters were, for the most part, great. Mackenzie, while air-headed, in the end proved herself to be a nice person and I liked her. If I knew her in real life, I doubt she and I would be friends, but you have to like a character who goes into screaming spasms when she sees Prada boots. Max was swoon-worthy, although Cole... not so much. From the moment he, you know, kidnapped her, I kind of saw that he wasn't going to win Nice Guy of the Year award, so I never understood Shannon's attraction to him. Typically guys, no matter how hot they may look, aren't the best choice of boyfriends if you meet them when they shove you into dark rooms and lock the door.
The plot, while sometimes unbelievable (mainly because of Shannon's choices), was definitely unique. It was a fascinating situation to read about, and I have to wonder where the author gets her ideas! This was a quick, light read and I would absolutely put this among the most entertaining books I've read this year.