Summary: 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?
My Thoughts: First off, I know nothing about poker. I mean, nothing at all. I'm not a card player. My family used to sit around the table and play cards and I would run into the other room, not my thing. Second, it didn't look interesting, didn't seem like something I would want to do. After reading this book, I need to go to the nearest casino and play. Ok, so maybe it had something to do with how fun this book made poker look, or maybe it could be the cute guys in the book? HAHA.
We are introduced to Shannon. Her family is undergoing some financial difficulties and she's having trouble comprehending she may not get to go to the college she wants too because of finances. So, instead of working at the diner she gets a job at a casino as a cocktail waitress. She still doesn't make that much money so when Cole offers her a chance into a secret poker society, she hesitates but than decides to take him up on the offer. I wasn't sure what to think of Cole. At first he seemed sincere enough but I just started to get the creep vibe off him. Enter Max, Shannon's oldest friend and the guy she had liked a long time. Max and Shannon had a disagreement so they weren't really on talking terms. Even at first, I wasn't too sure about Max either. I just couldn't see Shannon with him either. She just seemed to good for both of them. Max had started dating another girl within a few weeks of Shannon and Max's disagreement. So, anyways, Shannon gets sucked into the world of gambling and Max asks her to tutor him. Than they start to talk again and stuff hits the fan, and Max ends up breaking up with his girlfriend and Shannon still isn't talking to him really. Cole ends up wanting Shannon to fix a poker tournament. I honestly didn't see the ending coming at all.
For a long time, I didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't know who Shannon was going to end up with. Half of me wanted her to end up with Cole, the other half with Max. This book was really awesome, I liked the poker, I liked the characters, Max, Cole, Shannon, Shannon's friends and family. Everyone.
If you want to know what happens to Shannon, poker, Max and Cole, read the book to find out! In the meantime, I'm heading out to play poker (just kidding).
Overall: Loved it! Big fan of Barnholdt! If you haven't read Two Way Street be sure to check that one out too!
Cover: I really like the cover. It definitely is cute and really makes you want to read the book.