In this breakneck-paced novel about gambling and growing up, the stakes are high, and Andrew must ask himself: What does going all in really mean?
How did Andrew get himself into this mess? He has to get $600.00 back in the cash register at his dads dry-cleaning business before inventory day. He knows he can do it if he can scrape together enough seed money to earn backor doublethe money at Shushie Spiegels pool hall poker room.
But, since thats how he lost the money to begin with, maybe he shouldnt&except hes sure it was just a run of bad luck. Hes great at poker. He has only to come up with some cash, and he knows right where to go.
And so we follow the adventures of 15-year-old Andrew Lang as his life slides rapidly out of control. It doesnt take long for the desperate teen to betray his best friend, repel the girl he most wants to attract, and stoop to measures he would never have considered before.
There are two very remarkable things about this book that Id like to point out. The first is that this protagonist should be completely unlikable. Hes obviously a gambling addict. He steals, lies, betrays his friends and family. He constantly makes reckless decisions.
ButAndrew is likable. Why? Because hes real. His problems may be bigger than the average teen, but his mentality, his reasoning, and his interactions with people are real. We could easily be Andrew. We could make big, hairy mistakes that are so immense they change our lives. And we want to know how Andrew fixes his. So, we keep reading.
The second thing is the amazing writing. This is a book that made me pull out my notables notebook and jot down random lines, like, His voice sounds like steel shovels scooping gravel, and, I gulp, but my throat is lined with sandpaper.
This book has gorgeous language, good pacing, and consistency. This author handles the first person present perspective with ease. The reader feels what the main character feels. Luper artfully weaves description into the story with lines like, His hands are so veiny it looks like someone emptied a crate of rubber bands under his skin. Instant mental image.
The book has it all: strong characters, witty dialogue, driving action, and vivid descriptions. This debut author has no worries. As long as he keeps writing, people will keep reading!