Review of Jackpot

by Nic Stone
High School    Crown    341 pp.    g
10/19    978-1-9848-2962-7    $17.99
Library ed.  978-1-9848-2963-4    $20.99
e-book ed.  978-1-9848-2964-1    $10.99

School, work, home; repeat. Such is the life of Rico, high school senior, part-time convenience-store clerk, and full-time caregiver to her nine-year-old brother. In Rico’s life, there is not much room for friends, fun, or dreaming about the future — until an elderly woman comes to the Gas ’n’ Go on Christmas Eve and purchases a high-stakes lottery ticket. When the numbers are announced and no one comes forward with the winning ticket, Rico convinces herself it’s in the elderly woman’s hands. Enlisting the help of her wealthy, popular classmate Zan, she devises a plan to track down the woman — and hopefully be rewarded for her efforts. For Rico, finding the ticket is a matter of survival, but Zan has his own motives that do not involve money. As their adventure unfolds, the teens begin to develop feelings for each other, and they are forced to confront the many differences between them. Occasional interludes are narrated by the voices of the winning lottery ticket (“It’s not easy being an inanimate object worth enough American dollars to feed a family of six in Chad for over forty thousand years”), a taxi cab, and other items, broadening the perspective and adding some humor and brief fantastical elements. By turns romantic, funny, and surprising, the story explores how class, status, and money — or lack thereof — have the ability to limit or expand life opportunities, the choices we make, and our universal need for love and connection.

From the November/December 2019 Horn Book Magazine.

Monique Harris

Monique Harris is a public educator, reading specialist and independent educational consultant. She holds a Master of Science degree in Education from Simmons University, and is enrolled in a PhD program at Florida State University.

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