Thursday, February 9, 2012

Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt

After Shannon Card's dad gets laid off from his job, Shannon realizes she needs to make money in order to go to college next year. She's already been accepted to Wellesley, the school she's wanted to go to, through Early Admission, but now she doesn't have the funds to pay for it.

In order to remedy that problem, Shannon gets a fake ID so she can work at the casino serving drinks to get $10 an hour plus tips. She realizes, though, that she might not make enough in time for school.

Shannon meets Cole through an anonymous letter Cole sent her to ask her if she wanted to join his club, Aces Up, by playing poker using math skills. Shannon is very good at math which is why Cole singled her out.

At first, Shannon says no because she doesn't want to do anything illegal (even though she's underaged and working in a casino) but after she sees more and more of her parents's items being sold (car, boat, etc.) she gives in to make the cash for school faster.

Throughout this secrecy of working at the casino, playing at the poker tables, and school, Shannon also got wrangled into tutoring her old friend and crush, Max. After months without talking, Shannon realizes that she still might have feelings for Max even though she's "kinda" with Cole while they aren't playing poker.

Seems Shannon has a lot on her plate. Can she juggle it all without getting caught?

My Thoughts/Reflections
This was a great read! I've read Lauren Barnholdt's other book, Two Way Street, but I think I liked this story better!

I will admit, though, it seemed that Barnholdt was trying to make Shannon act like she was in high school to remind the readers of that. Shannon said, "like", "totally", and "omg" a lot throughout the novel which was a little annoying at times.

The struggle Shannon has with juggling so many things is enough to make a grown woman start pulling her hair out, so I admire Shannon trying to do all of those events. The illegal gambling and working? Gutsy, sure, but not the best role model for 17 year old either.

At the end, Shannon made a decision that, I think, was very mature and showed that Shannon grew up throughout the story. I would definitely recommend this book to teens who feel stressed and out of control.

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