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ACES UP by Lauren Barnholdt

ACES UP

By Lauren Barnholdt

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-385-73874-3
Publisher: Delacorte

Shannon, 17, faces a dilemma. She’s a math whiz who’s been accepted to Wellesley, but her father has just lost his job as an investment banker, and the BMW has been repossessed. How can Shannon pay for college? Using a fake I.D., she takes a job as a cocktail waitress in the local casino. Moral dilemmas ensue when she finds herself drawn into joining a secret player’s club that has plans to cheat their way through a major poker tournament. Not too surprisingly, Shannon constantly lies to her parents and misses so much sleep from working and gambling that her grades drop. Barnholdt keeps her characters nicely varied and believable, and she doesn’t shrink from portraying the consequences her likable main character faces from her decisions. She maintains a breezy, juvenile voice while portraying Shannon’s often flighty thinking as she mixes in boyfriend troubles and the temptations the newly minted card shark Shannon feels as she wins and wins. The novel may be useful for classroom or family discussions about difficult and ethical choices as well as providing unusual and interesting beach-reading. (Fiction. YA)