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Jackpot by Nic Stone - Review

Monday, October 7, 2019

Where did I get it? Netgalley, many thanks to Simon & Schuster for the book! 

What's it about? Rico is seventeen and lives in Atlanta Georgia. She lives with her mum, Stacia, and her younger brother, Jaxon. The family struggles to make ends meet every
month. Rico works at a local gas station to make money to give to her mum for their bills. On Christmas Eve, Rico sells two lottery tickets to an old lady, for a jackpot of 312 million dollars. The lady gives her one of the tickets. When the numbers come up, Rico is convinced that the lady has a winning ticket and, to begin with, wants to find her to steal it from her. That amount of money would obviously be life changing for Rico's family.

She enlists the help of Zan Macklin, the richest boy in school, who she is sure can help her to hack the gas station's CCTV so she can see how the old lady arrived that night. The two begin to form a friendship through a ridiculous treasure hunt, and there's feelings between the two of them. She assumes Zan's life is free from all pressures, but though he is very privileged, he doesn't have a perfect life. Rico has never had much time for friends, but Zan's friends Jess and Ness warm to her too, and Rico has some lovely rites of passage throughout her last few months at school. 

This is one of those books where subjectively, I didn't love it, I would probably have given it three out of five. But objectively, I can see that there a lot of teens that would need this book, that will see themselves reflected in it, and I think that it's a good book in that way and deserves a higher score. It is different to Odd One Out, the last book by Nic that I read, but I don't think that's to its detriment. I do have a few criticisms, I'll get to those later.

Oh, there's also a few parts told from the point of view of inanimate objects. I thought these were good and added something to the book. They definitely told the reader something that we didn't know, and they were kind of cute. 

What age range is it for? 15+ I'm going to say

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No. 

Are any main characters people of colour? Yes. Rico is mixed race - Stacia is mixed race and Rico's dad was Spanish although she's never met him. Zan is also part-Mexican, something which came across well I felt. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Not really, but I'll trigger warn for illness and mentions of addiction and abuse. 

Is there any sex stuff? No 

Are drugs mentioned or used? No I don't think so 

Is there any talk of death? Some, it's not graphic

Are there swear words? No 

What criticisms do I have? Hmmm, ok. I found it hard to fathom Zan's motives at times. His privilege did annoy the shit out of me sometimes, too. I thought the romance was cute, but it was on a strange footing from the beginning. I also didn't understand why Rico had literally no friends, and I wish we had seen how she was at school. I genuinely think a lot of my criticisms are just because I'm 35 and white and British - the book isn't for me and doesn't need to be. I didn't hate it! I just had problems with it 

Would I recommend the book? Yes if the premise appeals 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I was on my Kindle and just scrolled to it. 

What do I think of the cover? It's cute! I like how Zan looks, it helped me to have a picture of him in my head. 

What other books is it like? I'm drawing a blank, sorry! 

How many stars? Four out of five. 

Jackpot will be published on the 15th of October 2019. I was given a free electronic copy of the novel but was not compensated in any other way for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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