Lia Latimer is more than ready to take her future in her own hands when she wins £8 million in the lottery. She’ll drop out of school, buy a flat, leave her annoying family behind. What could go wrong?
Plenty, of course, and watching it unfold in this astringent, insightful satire is a major treat. Her father’s struggling bakery needs a cash infusion; her mother would like a boob job; sister Natasha longs for singing lessons. Jack (the winning ticket was his 16th-birthday present to Lia) wants an Italian motorbike; his mother demands half Lia’s winnings. Some seek support for worthy causes, but unlike Shazia, who won’t let Lia give her anything (Islam rejects gambling), most classmates expect presents. Financing their shopping spree (£7,000) doesn’t prevent a Facebook-fueled anti-Lia movement. Her romance with mysterious, gorgeous Raf is a bright spot—unless he’s just after her winnings. Lia (self-centered control freak, yes, but smart, honest and likable) makes a refreshingly assertive heroine for affluenza-ridden times, discovering that too many choices can be almost as immobilizing as having none. The text is peppered with British terms and cultural references, but readers raised on Harry Potter should have no problems.
Tart, funny and fast-moving, with a touch of rueful realism and a lot of heart. (Fiction. 12 & up)