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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.
 


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published: Random House Kids an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on
ISBN: 9780375895838
List price: $9.99
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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."more
 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.more
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.more
One of the things I like about reading Lauren Barnholdt’s books is that there is usually at least one point in the book when I think, “How did she get inside my head?” Though this book wasn’t a disappointment by any means, I just didn’t feel that connection this time. While I empathized with Shannon’s dilemma of needing money for college, I can’t say that there was ever a moment when I thought she got involved with Aces Up and Cole because of the money. It always seemed to be about escaping her problems, and she came across as selfish and unwise. I mean, here’s this girl who’s supposed to be a genius and she’s rationalizing letting her grades slip to make out with some guy all night? I get that people make bad choices, and bad choices create the conflict that propel stories forward, but I felt like I was cringing through most of the book waiting for that moment when she would finally hit rock bottom and realize she needed to fix the situation.Now, while there were many times when I wanted to slap some sense into Shannon, there were also moments about the book that I loved. These were mostly the flirting/romantic tension moments that peppered the story, but also the developing friendship between Shannon and a co-worker. Though I obviously had some problems with Shannon, Barnholdt’s writing, as always, is fun to read. It feels as if it is a friend telling their story. And maybe that’s why I had such a hard time watching Shannon make such dumb mistakes: because it felt like watching a friend give up everything good in life for something you know won’t last.more
When Shannon Card (yup her last name is Card and this is a book about Poker) is forced to get a job to pay for college, she gets an invitation to join Aces Up. Getting a fake ID and a fake birth certificate is one thing to get a waitressing job at a casino, it is another thing to pay a game of poker with stakes as high as thirteen million dollars.How do you review a book where you have no reaction after finishing the book? Tell me because I have no clue how so I am just going to babble on about Aces Up. The biggest confusion I have of this novel is the takeaway or just the feeling I’m left with after the novel. I don’t exactly feel relieved, elated, or any of the positive energies. Ehhhh. Then there is the whole moral of the story: “Cheaters never win”—okay.I feel as though I am not giving credit where credit is due. The solid framework was there, but the execution felt like dipping your toe into the pool and not plunging yourself in. I hesitate over Max and Shannon—best friends turned crushes turned awkwardness—that made me think of second helpings or leftovers. I needed more exaggeration with the inner turmoil to be sympathizing to Shannon. I got tired of the secondary characters because frankly I don’t know what to think of them. The ending was rather appropriate and realistic, but had that extra layer of cheese that made me roll my eyes.For now I’ll leave it as a big ? with Aces Up.more
Shannon Card needs money and she needs it ASAP. With her early admission into her dream college, she's going to need more then Financial Aid and student grants to pay off the tuition. To make the situation worse, her father just got laid off from his job and the family is under a financial crisis. The story starts off on Shannon's first day at her job as a cocktail waitress in a Casino. Although working at the Casino will help Shannon make money, there is just one tiny little problem.She's a minor.Shannon thinks she can pull off being twenty-one and make enough money so she can quit before anyone realizes that she's seventeen. But hiding her age is the least of her worries, when she stumbles upon an invitation to join an underground poker society called Aces Up. With her math skills, she might be able to make some quick cash, and LOTS of it. Shannon meets Cole, the leader of Aces Up and soon finds herself caught in a web of lies.I enjoyed reading this story and this is actually the first book that I've read by Lauren Barnholdt. The writing was fast paced and comical. Shannon's character is a bit of a goof but I liked her. Before I read this book, I knew NOTHING about poker. I've always been curious about the card game and wanting to know what the HUGE buzz is about when it comes to playing the game. When I heard about this book from the Random Buzzers website, needless to say I was very curious about it. I've never encountered a YA book where Poker was the heart of the story. Having read the book, I have to admit that it really got me interested about Poker. I would love to learn more about the game and the strategies and hopefully be able to play a game or two. Of course I would not want be caught up in the situation that Shannon get's herself into!more
Read all 6 reviews

Reviews

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."more
 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.more
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.more
One of the things I like about reading Lauren Barnholdt’s books is that there is usually at least one point in the book when I think, “How did she get inside my head?” Though this book wasn’t a disappointment by any means, I just didn’t feel that connection this time. While I empathized with Shannon’s dilemma of needing money for college, I can’t say that there was ever a moment when I thought she got involved with Aces Up and Cole because of the money. It always seemed to be about escaping her problems, and she came across as selfish and unwise. I mean, here’s this girl who’s supposed to be a genius and she’s rationalizing letting her grades slip to make out with some guy all night? I get that people make bad choices, and bad choices create the conflict that propel stories forward, but I felt like I was cringing through most of the book waiting for that moment when she would finally hit rock bottom and realize she needed to fix the situation.Now, while there were many times when I wanted to slap some sense into Shannon, there were also moments about the book that I loved. These were mostly the flirting/romantic tension moments that peppered the story, but also the developing friendship between Shannon and a co-worker. Though I obviously had some problems with Shannon, Barnholdt’s writing, as always, is fun to read. It feels as if it is a friend telling their story. And maybe that’s why I had such a hard time watching Shannon make such dumb mistakes: because it felt like watching a friend give up everything good in life for something you know won’t last.more
When Shannon Card (yup her last name is Card and this is a book about Poker) is forced to get a job to pay for college, she gets an invitation to join Aces Up. Getting a fake ID and a fake birth certificate is one thing to get a waitressing job at a casino, it is another thing to pay a game of poker with stakes as high as thirteen million dollars.How do you review a book where you have no reaction after finishing the book? Tell me because I have no clue how so I am just going to babble on about Aces Up. The biggest confusion I have of this novel is the takeaway or just the feeling I’m left with after the novel. I don’t exactly feel relieved, elated, or any of the positive energies. Ehhhh. Then there is the whole moral of the story: “Cheaters never win”—okay.I feel as though I am not giving credit where credit is due. The solid framework was there, but the execution felt like dipping your toe into the pool and not plunging yourself in. I hesitate over Max and Shannon—best friends turned crushes turned awkwardness—that made me think of second helpings or leftovers. I needed more exaggeration with the inner turmoil to be sympathizing to Shannon. I got tired of the secondary characters because frankly I don’t know what to think of them. The ending was rather appropriate and realistic, but had that extra layer of cheese that made me roll my eyes.For now I’ll leave it as a big ? with Aces Up.more
Shannon Card needs money and she needs it ASAP. With her early admission into her dream college, she's going to need more then Financial Aid and student grants to pay off the tuition. To make the situation worse, her father just got laid off from his job and the family is under a financial crisis. The story starts off on Shannon's first day at her job as a cocktail waitress in a Casino. Although working at the Casino will help Shannon make money, there is just one tiny little problem.She's a minor.Shannon thinks she can pull off being twenty-one and make enough money so she can quit before anyone realizes that she's seventeen. But hiding her age is the least of her worries, when she stumbles upon an invitation to join an underground poker society called Aces Up. With her math skills, she might be able to make some quick cash, and LOTS of it. Shannon meets Cole, the leader of Aces Up and soon finds herself caught in a web of lies.I enjoyed reading this story and this is actually the first book that I've read by Lauren Barnholdt. The writing was fast paced and comical. Shannon's character is a bit of a goof but I liked her. Before I read this book, I knew NOTHING about poker. I've always been curious about the card game and wanting to know what the HUGE buzz is about when it comes to playing the game. When I heard about this book from the Random Buzzers website, needless to say I was very curious about it. I've never encountered a YA book where Poker was the heart of the story. Having read the book, I have to admit that it really got me interested about Poker. I would love to learn more about the game and the strategies and hopefully be able to play a game or two. Of course I would not want be caught up in the situation that Shannon get's herself into!more
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