Monday, January 24, 2011

Aces Up

Aces Up
Lauren Barnholdt
Paperback: 288 Pages
Publisher:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers August, 2010

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.
This is the first title I have read from author Lauren Barnholdt from an ARC Tour over at Good Golly Miss Molly. The story could've really gone anywhere given the title and summary on the back of the book. We have all been under the weight of financial turmoil at some point in our lives. Many of us are right now. I personally stay in financial turmoil, being that I'm a college student and would have no problem playing poker if it involved winning money. Except for the fact I don't know squat about poker. It's certainly not hard to imagine what it would feel like to suddenly have the opportunity to do something about not having money. When Shannon is pulled into a trap and asked if she'd like to join Aces Up, an underground poker playing network, I rooted for Shannon to get as far away from the tangles of lies that she had built. I just knew that Cole was going to eventually kill her and we'd find Shannon in a garbage can somewhere. It looked like disaster waiting to happen, but instead of turning into a true crime or murder mystery, the author Lauren let us into a sexy and playful world of gambling but also taught us the dangers. I'm going to stick to eating ramen noodles.

I give this book four out of five book geeks.

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