Hi, everyone. I’m back today with another review. Let’s get into it.
- Publication date: October 15th 2019
- Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
- Genre: YA Contemporary
Meet Rico: high school senior and afternoon-shift cashier at the Gas ‘n’ Go, who after school and work races home to take care of her younger brother. Every. Single. Day. When Rico sells a jackpot-winning lotto ticket, she thinks maybe her luck will finally change, but only if she–with some assistance from her popular and wildly rich classmate Zan–can find the ticket holder who hasn’t claimed the prize. But what happens when have and have-nots collide? Will this investigative duo unite…or divide?
Thank you to NetGalley for providing and eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Jackpot is my second Nic Stone book. I have read Dear Martin early this year and loved it, so I was over the moon when I received the ARC for this book. I thought, if it was in any way like the other book I’ve read, it would be a poignant story with a lot of commentary on some important subjects. I wasn’t wrong.
Jackpot’s main character, Rico Danger, doesn’t come from much. Raised by a single mother, with a younger brother to support, she needs to work full time on top of her studies, to help her parent keep the family afloat. With a constantly busy schedule, she has no time for herself. No time for friends. While working at a petrol station on Christmas Eve, she sells 2 lotto tickets to an old lady. The woman lets her keep one. Later, she finds a winning ticket has been sold at her petrol station on Christmas Eve, and convinced the old lady still has it and has forgotten about it, she decides to do anything she can to find her. But to do that, she needs help… help from the most popular guy in school, Alexander Macklin.
I enjoyed Rico’s character for most of the book. She is fierce and flawed. Her relationship with her family is perfect – unconditional and nearly motherly love for Jax, and lots of love but also resentment towards her mother. She is very guarded, and because of that she plays to a lot of stereotypes and views a lot of people as stereotypes of themselves. She is human and very much a teenager, which I enjoyed – finally a character that feels authentic in YA contemporary. I expected more of a development by the end of the book, but I’m not sure I fully got what I wanted – I don’t know if she finally stops judging people based on what her assumptions about them are. I wish the development was a bit more clear.
This book is a breath of fresh air when it comes to romance. I feel like I say it in every single review I write – I’m not big on romance, it’s usually what makes me enjoy the book I’m reading less. Jackpot has a lot of build up, a lot of back and forth “will they, won’t they” and an unconventional conclusion, which made the book really enjoyable. Rico and Zan have a lot of chemistry, that’s for sure, but they also work extremely well as friends.
I’m not sure about the structure and pacing of the plot. It keeps changing direction – from being purely about the ticket, to being about Rico and Zan’s relationship, to, what I thought came too late – the big conflict. In my opinion it happens too late, and the resolve of it gives the book a really abrupt ending. A lot of people say they don’t know how they feel about the ending and I second that – I’m just not sold on the money part of the ending (I’m trying hard not to spoil anything).
Jackpot provides a great commentary on socio-economic status, privilege that comes from money and appearances. It shows many different points of view and really makes you think about how money affects people and their lives. After all, not everyone who comes from a wealthy family is well off themselves and not everyone who looks rich is actually rich. I think the discussion this book brings up to the table is an important one.
Overall, I really enjoyed Jackpot and will definitely be picking up future Nic Stone books. I’m docking 1 star for some minor things, like the development and the ending not being to my liking, but those things are personal preference and not necessarily the book’s fault. Do yourself a favour and pick it up when it’s out. It’s definitely worth a read.
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I hope you enjoyed this review.
I’ll talk to you soon!