Thursday, August 10, 2017

You May Already Be a Winner

You May Already Be a Winner
By Ann Dee Ellis
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017. Fiction.

Olivia is twelve-years-old and she is obsessed with entering contests. She makes sure that she enters a few every day - for things like free boxes of kool-aid, family trips to Orlando, lotteries for millions of dollars - anything she can find. Olivia loves the thing that these contests say before you enter - "you may already be a winner." Because Olivia doesn't feel like a winner. She is supposed to be in sixth grade, but she hasn't been to school in months because her mom needs her to stay home with her sister. Her dad left for a while because he needed a break, but he still hasn't come back. Her mom used to be a good mom, but now she's tired from going to work. When Bart, a strange and secretive boy, comes wandering past her trailer park she thinks he may be the luck she's looking for.

There are a lot of things that I love about this book. Olivia is kind and bright and maintains her spirit in the face of her really difficult life. When she finally starts to crack, it feels believable and my heart can't help but reach out to her. Her supporting cast of characters are an interesting, warm, and lively group. That this book is written by a local author is already exciting, but that it is actually set in Provo is even more exciting. I had a lot of fun picking out places I know and visit - like the library. At times, this book is very, very sad. Olivia's life is unbelievably difficult and her story can be heartbreaking. That being said, this is a perfect choice for readers looking to understand what life is like for other kids - even those who live nearby.

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