Aces Up

Lauren Barnholdt, Delacorte, $9.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-385-73874-3
Shannon's father has lost his job, which makes attending Wellesley impossible, unless she can earn $27,400 for first year's tuition. Shannon is a math whiz so that calculation was easy, but earning the money as a cocktail waitress at the Collosio Casino is more challenging, especially since Shannon is only 17 and using a fake ID to work there. Enter Cole, leader of Aces Up, a clandestine ring of college-age gamblers, who recruits Shannon after reading about a math award she won. Shannon proves to be a poker star, and Cole pressures her into entering the big tournament. Realizing that she might be in trouble, Shannon relies on her sister, a friend, and her crush, Max, to figure out the right thing to do. Readers should be easily swept into Shannon's exhilaration when she first stays up all night playing poker ("I love the feeling of the cards beneath my fingers"), and will likely become invested in her ethical dilemma. A savvy story about how, even with pure intentions, you can still get in over your head. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 11/08/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
Genre: Children's
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