Nic Stone is an auto-read author for me. After Dear Martin, I will read anything she writes. This book was SO much fun and is now my #2 Nic Stone book, right after Dear Martin (that’ll be hard to beat as a #1).
Author: Nic Stone
Genres: Contemporary, Own Voices
This book was a very fun and a fast read while tackling some important issues like status in society due to money, poverty, race, etc. All things I’d expect from a Nic Stone book. I was not disappointed.
Our main character Rico is black and lives with her single mother and younger brother, who has a different father (also not in the picture). After school, she works at the local gas station to help her family afford rent and groceries – which is where she sells a mega-millions winning lottery ticket to an older woman! She needs to track down this woman and enlists the help of tech savvy, popular, and rich classmate Zan. We later find out Alexander “Zan” Macklin is biracial (white and Mexican), and speaks perfect Spanish.
Rico and Zan work together to try and find this mysterious older woman who has a million dollar winning lottery ticket and their adventure and friendship that is wonderful to watch grow. Rico doesn’t give up her pride or beliefs just to please the popular pretty boy she needs help from and I admire that.
I love how Jackpot talked about the issues of money and not living on the street, but also not being able to afford the newest iPhone or health insurance and counting your pennies each week for groceries. It shows there are different levels of poverty and not wanting to ask for help, even if you need it.
One of my favorite things was the unexpected friendship of Rico and popular white girl cheerleader class president Jess, who lives in the same building and is on Medicaid – something Rico didn’t expect from this girl who seems to have it all.
There wasn’t much I disliked about this book. The ended felt a little rushed and predictable, but you know what, this was a fun adventure and I’m glad I went on it! Sometimes Rico annoyed me with her pride but I’ve never been in her situation. I realized I’ve never felt as she has, so I can’t judge her for that. Also, she’s a teenager. She acted just as a teenager would.
Nic Stone narrated this audiobook herself and while it wasn’t bad, it didn’t wow me over either. I’m picky with my audiobook narrators. Sometimes I like when authors read their work (JASON REYNOLDS) and sometimes, not so much. This wasn’t bad at all as audio – if thats your thing, go for it. But you aren’t missing out by not listening to this. She didn’t differentiate between the characters voices as well as some narrators do.
I would very much recommend this to anyone looking for a fun yet diverse read. This tackles important issues and makes you really think about things in a different way. You can’t always judge someone just based on how they look or what they wear.
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