Review: Aces Up

May •  6 •  2014
Review: Aces UpAces Up by Lauren Barnholdt
Series: Stand Alone
Published by Ember on August 10th 2010
Genres: Young Adult-Contemporary/Romance
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon

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.

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!

I give it 4 BITES!


Happy Reading!


  1. finley jayne
    May 6, 2014

    Love the cover of this one 🙂 Great review!

  2. Jenny
    May 6, 2014

    Shannon sounds a little frustrating in the romance department, but I’m glad in the end she comes around and starts using her head a bit. I’ve yet to read a book that features gambling, so this one sounds like fun!

    • Savannah
      May 8, 2014

      Yeah she can be a frustrating character but she get its together in the end.

  3. Lisa (Fic Talk)
    May 8, 2014

    I’ve been wondering whether this one was worth the buy or not. Saw a copy up on Book Outlet and I may add it to my cart now since it’s pretty cheap.

    Glad you liked it!

  4. Wendy Darling
    May 8, 2014

    I’m glad you ended up liking it overall–it’s interesting to read about a book centered around card games, too! unusual for YA.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  5. Candace
    May 9, 2014

    I think I read one book by her and didn’t care for it but have heard that a lot of her books are really good. This sounds a bit unique though, I might have to consider reading it!