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I really loved this book for most of it. I loved Rico as a character: it's easy to empathize with her plight while also feeling frustrated (and understanding!) with how she lets her pride get in the way. It would be so much easier for the author to fall into the trap of making Rico a character for whom all you can do it feel bad, and that would just be too simple and too boring. Same for Zan and for Rico's mom; they're layered and interesting characters. (Rico's mom was so misguided...but I do think her often baffling decisions are actually pretty realistic for some people.)
The ending, though, is *bizarre* to me. It did occur to me at one point that Zan might have the ticket. But the fact that he did indeed have it and just withheld that information from her? It's cruel, of course, and *totally* ignorant of him, and super patronizing that he thought he needed to protect the elderly woman (and then Rico and her family, I guess?) from misusing the money. But above all, it's also just *really* incongruous with his character, in my opinion. YES, we know that he and his family have this idea about how "poor folk" can't manage their money, and YES, we know he's out of touch with certain economic realities. However, once he learns about Jax's illness and the debt the family is in, there's no way he wouldn't have given her the ticket. The novel shows us time and again that he's devoted to her and wants to help her in all the small and important ways. So it makes no sense to me that he wouldn't give her the ticket or at least, like, pretend to have found the ticket in the elderly lady's belongings. And then for it all to end with him patronizingly setting up all these various accounts and trusts to prevent her family from blowing the money right away...such a weird message! I get it, it's a proven thing that people who get a sudden windfall (from the lotto, from a will, from getting into pro sports, whatever) often lose their money quickly because they don't manage it well. But I'd have liked to see Rico get the money and see a money manager and have some agency in safeguarding it. It's weird to me that the lasting message (at least to me) was still that the rich man (Zan, here) knows best. I'm glad at least that they dont stay together at the end (because everything is so bizarre at this point with all the dishonesty and whatnot) but I'd have preferred an ending in which Zan wasn't a total jerk.
This is the first book I read from this author. I am have a fan. There are several interesting themes: we all have choices and don't let those choices limit us; the perceived haves and have nots; the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence; in addition to the romance. It also explored the social condition of living paycheck to paycheck and how a life event could break the text nous financial balanced. The heroine was fiercely independent and a hard worker but smothered by family and financial responsibility. The hero also felt smothered by faith obligation. This shared experience plus attraction brings them together in On an adventure. There is a surprise end to the adventure. I enjoyed the story and the characters. I also loved the segues where the inanimate objects talk- a little levity thrown in. I purchased the audio as well; great narrator.
I am a true fan of Nic Stone! I met her this year at a library conference and she was fabulous! I have read all of her books and the first was Dear Martin. She pushes the envelope for young adults. She writes about things that only people think about and never really voice.
Jackpot was a slow start for me, it really got me after about one hundred and forty pages. I’m so glad my loyalty for the author and love for Dear Martin and Odd One Out kept me reading. She truly inhabits the character Rico and describes first hand what economic inequity feels like.
I love all of Nic Stone's work, but Jackpot is my favorite so far. Money is a fraught topic, especially in a capitalist culture that equates wealth with goodness, especially because it represents the convergence of status, privilege, and sociology. Nic's newest book confronts each of these issues, and couches the conversation in the complexities of YA relationships. Your expectations will be teased and you'll have a lot of fun. This one is really special.