Published: August 10, 2010 by Ember
Summary from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old high school senior Shannon Card needs money. And lots of it. She's been admitted to Wellesley, but her dad just lost his job, and somehow she has to come up with a year of tuition herself. But Shannon's dream of making big bucks waitressing at the local casino, the Collosio, disappears faster than a gambler's lucky streak. Her boss is a tyrant, her coworker is nuts, and her chances of balancing a tray full of drinks while wearing high-heeled shoes are slim to none. Worse, time is running out, and Shannon hasn't made even half the money she'd hoped.
When Shannon receives a mysterious invitation to join Aces Up, a secret network of highly talented college poker players, at first she thinks No way. She has enough to worry about: keeping her job, winning the coveted math scholarship at school, and tutoring her secret crush, Max. But when Shannon musters up the nerve to kiss Max and he doesn't react at all, the allure of Aces Up and its sexy eighteen-year-old leader, Cole, is suddenly too powerful to ignore.
Soon Shannon's caught up in a web of lies and deceit that makes worrying about tuition money or a high school crush seem like kid stuff. Still, when the money's this good, is the fear of getting caught reason enough to fold?
This fun, sexy, recession-proof story is a bubbly summer read with surprising depth—great for fans of Sarah Mlynowski.
I picked this book up because I had just finished Me Before You and I wanted something short and sweet to get me through all my emotions. Well, it was short, so there's that. I typically love almost-in-college books, so I was intrigued. Plus, SECRET POKER SOCIETY HOW COOL AMIRITE?
I wasn't right. The premise is the only thing this book has going for it. The execution was miserable. I'm not trying to be one of those people who get super bash-y in my negative reviews, but I'm not sure how to put it nicely: this is the most annoying book I've ever read in my life.
I thought the narrator was judgmental, irritating, stupid, and selfish. She treated people like crap for no reason. By the end, she learns her lesson or whatever, but I didn't care. I literally started banging my head against this book several times because I got so freaking annoyed by all of it. Maybe I should take into consideration that this was written 6 years ago, but I found the writing to be forced and try-hard (with the use of the word "obvi" and "probs" and several instances of "BFF" it sounded like a middle-aged mom trying to be "hip").
Aside from the protagonist, I thought the rest of the characters were flat. We literally don't know anything about them. The only character I even liked a little bit was Robyn, the protagonist's sister. Max, the love interest, had potential, but again SO FLAT.
I didn't care about anything that happened, but, like I said, it's a short book, so I forced myself to push through, but if it had been any longer I would have DNFed it. About 20 pages in, I started tabbing all the parts of the novel I found especially irritating, but once I started tabbing multiple spots on one page, I gave up on that.
A few years ago I read another book by Barnholdt and, at least back then, I enjoyed it. I'll most likely try one more book by her (mostly because I own one more of her books), but if that one doesn't work for me, I'll probably never re-visit this author. I initially gave the book 2 stars, but I am lowering the rating half a star.