Book Review: Jackpot by Nic Stone

I absolutely loved Nic Stone’s Dear Martin when I read it last year, so when Simon and Schuster offered me a review copy of Nic’s latest book, Jackpot, I jumped at the chance to read it.

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About the Book

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?

Nic Stone, the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out, creates two unforgettable characters in one hard-hitting story about class, money–both too little and too much–and how you make your own luck in the world.

My Review

Jackpot has an intriguing start with Rico selling two lotto tickets to two very different customers on Christmas Eve, and later finding out someone who bought a ticket there was the jackpot winner.

Rico is a sassy character who has a great way with words, and a lot of opinions. Winning the lotto would be life changing for her: her family are incredibly poor. Nic really shows us how hard Rico’s life is: the lack of opportunities she has, the fact she has to balance school and working to make ends meet, and that her family don’t have health insurance. Her relationship with her mum is really strained because of their financial situation, which was difficult to read at times. Jax, her baby brother, was by far my favourite character. He is so innocent and funny, and adds some much needed light relief to an otherwise heavy story. Everything that Rico does is for him, to make his life better and to give him the opportunities she hasn’t had.

There are a lot of reasons to feel sorry for Rico, but she is not always an easy character to like. She is very angry and rarely stops to consider the perspectives of others. She enlists Zan to help her track down the missing lottery ticket. He is also unlikable at times; his family are rich, which comes with its own pressures and starkly contrasts Rico’s life, but he is also super-judgemental about poor people assuming they are all bad with money and don’t deserve to have it. There were times that I liked each of our main characters, and times that I couldn’t bear them, but I had to keep reading because I really needed to know how their story ended.

I loved the interspersed chapters from inanimate objects like “Alexander Macklin’s 1,200 thread count Egyptian Cotton Sheets” which were really unique and gave interesting and fun perspectives on the events of the book, as well as giving a break from the constant tension between Zan and Rico.

The ending was completely unexpected and not at all what I thought would happen. It definitely kept me on my toes. Jackpot would be perfect for people who enjoy myster stories with tense relationships like Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett, or those which explore class and money issues like Skylarks by Karen Gregory.

Huge thanks to Simon and Schuster for the review copy of this book. Have you read Jackpot? Do you think you will pick it up? I’d love to know what you think of it. 

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