Review by Booklist Review
Seventeen-year-old Rico Danger (pronounced DON-gur) helps her single mother pay rent and raise nine-year-old Jax, which leaves no time for making friends or having dreams. Then, while working at a gas station register, she sells a lotto ticket to a cute old lady, who after no one claims the $106 million prize Rico is sure has the winner. She turns to millionaire teen heartthrob Zan to help her find the woman, but when he takes a more-than-friendly interest in Rico, she must figure out how she can possibly fit into his upper-class world. Stone (Odd One Out, 2018) delivers a heartfelt, humorous teen romance fraught with the tension between financial privilege and the lack thereof. While presenting a shrewd depiction of the resulting power dynamics, the stakes feel surprisingly low, and the romance is somewhat humdrum. Despite puzzling chapter intervals written from the perspective of omniscient objects (e.g., a saltshaker, Zan's bedsheets), there's something about Stone's storytelling and Rico's narration that is entirely engaging, making this an ultimately hard-to-put-down, enjoyable read.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Stone's debut, Dear Martin (2017), launched an award-winning, best-selling career that shows no sign of slowing down, and she'll be touring the nation with her latest.--Ronny Khuri Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
On Christmas Eve, Gas 'n' Go employee Rico Danger, 17, sells two lottery tickets to a woman with memory troubles. After Rico realizes that one of them may be worth $106 million, she begins obsessing about the winning ticket's whereabouts. Rico's mother works too much, mismanages her meager earnings, and refuses to go on Medicaid; Rico handles the family's finances and works double shifts to make rent; and her little brother keeps getting sick. When nobody claims the jackpot after several days, Rico enlists classmate Zan Macklin, a wealthy computer whiz, to help her track down the customer. As they work together, she and Zan careen toward a romance layered with intersectional issues: multiethnic Rico is believably resentful about her family's situation; Zan, part white and part Latinx, is often oblivious to his privilege and high-handed with his wealth; and neither believes they have much choice for their future. Interstitials by objects ("A Word from the Right Ticket") occasionally disrupt the first-person narration, and the primary relationship suffers from an insufficiently characterized male lead. But Stone (Odd One Out) authentically portrays the precarious, terrifying act of living with far less than is needed to survive, and its financial and emotional fallout. Ages 14--up. (Oct.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up--Seventeen-year-old Rico Danger (pronounced DON-gur) has never wondered what it would be like to win the lottery, even though her mom isn't great at handling the little money they have and is too proud to sign up for the public assistance they desperately need. That is, until the Georgia Gas 'n' Go where Rico works sells one of two winning tickets for a 212 million dollar jackpot. As time passes and the ticket goes unclaimed, Rico is positive that she knows who bought it and is determined to track the kind woman down. After a chance encounter with computer whiz Zan Macklin, one of the richest guys at school, the duo band together to follow the mystery woman's trail, discover their different attitudes about life, bond over their biracial identities and complicated family relationships, and start to fall for each other. Chapters with inanimate objects' point of view are interspersed into the first-person narration, giving clues to the plot and levity to serious topics of race, class, privilege, and poverty. While secondary characters could have been more fleshed out, Stone delivers a deftly constructed tale that is equal parts satisfying wish-fulfillment and light-handed lessons learned. VERDICT A must-purchase for teen collections of all sizes, this is a real winner.--Brittany Drehobl, Morton Grove Public Library, IL
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Review by Horn Book Review
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. Monique Harris November/December 2019 p.100(c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Seventeen-year-old Rico's family is living paycheck to paycheck and way beyond their means, even with Rico's practically full-time job and her mother's long hours. When a customer purchases the winning ticket at the Gas 'n' Go where she works but doesn't claim it, Rico begins searching for the elderly woman she believes to be the winner. She enlists the help of Zan, the superrich heir of Macklin Enterprises in their hometown of Norcross, Georgia. Rico tentatively begins to hope in the future as her feelings for the privileged and complex Zan and her camaraderie with new friends finally start balancing out her family's struggles. Filled with rich character development, whip-smart dialogue, and a layered exploration of financial precariousness, Stone (Odd One Out, 2018, etc.) touches on rising health care costs, the effect of illness in the family, interracial dating, and biracial identity. Intermittent passages from the perspectives of inanimate objectsincluding the winning ticketaround the characters add humor, and the short chapters inject the narrative with suspense. Rico is white, Latinx, and black. Zan is Latinx and white, and they live in a predominantly white neighborhood. Readers will have to suspend disbelief at the book's conclusion, but this romantic coming-of-age novel will have them hoping for their own lucky ending.Stone delivers a thoughtful and polished novel about class, privilege, and relative poverty. (Fiction. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.