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Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt
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This story totally reminds of the movie 21. It follow the similar line except without the whole teamwork aspect.

Plot: This is about a girl who is taking matters into her own hands. Young and smart, Shannon needs money for college. After taking a job, she discovers someone who can help her make more money than she ever in thought…in gambling. I found this story particular interesting because it feels exciting knowing that a groups has a game plan to win money. The plot moves fairly quickly after the initial gambling starts and the real fun begins.

Love/Friendships: I have to say that this part disappointed me a little. Of course Shannon wold fall for the top notch gambler and not the guy right in front of her. I felt like she juggled both relationships backwards. She used her friend for cover stories and stuff and was an idiot around the other guy. Luckily for her, she got brains and began to use them. Things change and I felt like it was okay afterwards.

Ending: After all the secrecy, Shannon learns some secrets and finally gets her heard on straight. And despite all the illegal stuff she did, she managed to get out okay. I think it ended on an okay note. It was something that I expected.

Overall, this is a good book. I really enjoyed the rush of gambling at the table and hiding it from others. I don’t think I ever had guts to do such a thing like that, but man those people are not only smart but wicked good at what they do. Aces Up is a fun exciting read! ( )
  Bookswithbite | May 19, 2014 |
ACES UP was my introduction to Lauren Barnholdt and her writing, and I must say, it was a great first impression.

Despite the fact that I know nearly nothing about poker and the colorful world of gambling, I found it remarkably easy to identify with Shannon. It wasn't so much the fast, faintly sinister world she found herself in that I found intriguing, but the reason she felt she needed to venture there.

Shannon's family has fallen on hard economic times and they've had to give up many extraneous expenses. The one thing Shannon refuses to give up is her dream to attend her Wellesley after she completes her senior year. Shannon must decide is the money and the guarantee of being able to afford Wellesley worth the risk. And the risk is huge.

It isn't hard to put myself in Shannon's shoes... I think the majority of college and college bound students will empathize with her fear and stress. It's insanely difficult to pay for school today. Students are often told that if they work hard, get good grades, etc, etc, everything will be fine. Shannon's story is very true to life: sometimes, everything isn't fine.

The novel primarily focuses on Shannon, but she also has a sister who is also struggling to pay for college as well. The difference between the two, is that her sister doesn't attempt any get rich quick schemes, illegal or otherwise, but instead, continues to work hard and remains positive. I liked that the reader was able to compare the vastly different paths each sister chose.

The one element of the novel that I wasn't completely sold on was the romantic bits. I felt more of a connection to the boy Shannon wasn't supposed to fall for than the one she did, which made for a lackluster response.

The story's resolution may have been idealized. Shannon does, of course, learn her lesson and the story ends, more or less, happily. But many are or will be facing a similar situation and I think that ACES UP will guide them. Yes, we are all free to make our own decisions, but there is comfort in picking up a novel where the main character is in a similar situation. Even if the reader's situation isn't identical to Shannon's, it still serves as a reminder that no matter how good that "bad" choice may seem, it's in one's best interest to veer toward the "good." ( )
  thehidingspot | Mar 31, 2012 |
Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt is a poker playing love story.

All Shannon Card wants to do is attend Wellesley College in the following fall for collage classes. However, her dad just lost his job and her mom is already doing two jobs to help pay for her sister, Robyn’s collage classes. Shannon will do anything to earn money, even if that includes using a fake ID and fake birth certificate to get a waitressing job at the casino, which leads to her joining a private poker club, Aces Up. But will she go to far to lie to her parents twice, hook up with the leader of Aces Up and let her grades slip? All the while still trying to become friends again with Max from him not kissing her last summer.

This book isn’t my favorite,but it is still very good. The lesson Lauren Barnholdt teaches the reader is a very strong one; “ There are no shortcuts to achieving what you want.” I think she definitely gets this lesson across to every reader because she comes right out and says it, whichi s a very good thing because every one should learn it.

My favorite thing about this book is it is a simple chick-flick romance that all the girls would love. You get trapped into the character’s feelings towards one another and it melts your heart.

What I really do not like about it, the author wrote way too much about what Shannon Card was thinking in her head. On every page it felt like half of it was just what she was thinking. It was written way too much to a point it got annoying and it took down my rating to a 3.5 instead of a 4.5. Despite the talking in the head, it is till a good romance book. ( )
  ctmsolgi | Jan 22, 2012 |
This book was amazing!
I started reading this book because I loved Two*Way Street (also by Lauren Barnholdt) so much, and Aces Up did not disappoint!
I loved how realistic it was. With so many people losing their jobs, you can definitely relate with Shannon when she thinks that she needs to get a job at the Casino to pay for Collage… only problem, She’s only 17. You also get to see how Shannon is pulled into gambling, whether it’s by her need for money or the sexy guy named Cole; Lauren Barnholdt really helps you understand Shannon’s motives.
Lauren Barnholdt is an amazing writer and if you enjoy her other books then you‘re sure to enjoy this one!
It’s a great read and it’ll keep you wondering about what will happen until the very end! ( )
  TheUserFromTheSKYE | Oct 17, 2011 |
With summer finally here, Aces Up is the perfect book to lay outside under the sun and read. It is a quick, charming read that really draws you in. Though it's not as good as Lauren Barnholdt's other books, the story line is unique to other books I've read, but it is very similar to the movie 21. Aside from that, I really liked Shannon and felt for her when things didn't end up going her way during the book. Her relationship with Cole was kind of weird, but I loved her fragile relationship with Max and how it wasn't even close to perfect, which many readers can relate to. Though the whole being-amazing-and-winning-tons-of-money blackjack was kind of hard to truly believe, Barnholdt made it up with the lovable characters and cute story. Aces Up was a pretty good read, but if I had to choose between Barnholdt's other books, I would say choose one of her other books first before picking this one up. ( )
  Jessica5 | Jun 30, 2011 |
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I will not freak out, I will not freak out, I will not freak out.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385738749, Paperback)

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?
 
This fun, sexy, recession-proof story is a bubbly summer read with surprising depth—great for fans of Sarah Mlynowski.
 

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:17 -0400)

When Shannon Card, a sixteen-year-old high school honors student, lies about her age to get a job at a Connecticut casino so she can earn money for her college tuition, she becomes involved in a secret poker society and falls deeper into a web of deceit.… (more)

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