From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-In this highly enjoyable novel, middle-schooler Hailee Richardson is embarrassed by her garage-sale bicycle, her clothes from Goodwill, and her father's job cleaning carpets. But when her parents win millions in the lottery, her life changes dramatically, and not always for the better. Hailee loves her new cell phone and even reluctantly grows to like her new private school. Her relationship with her longtime best friend becomes strained, however, as Hailee tries to win over her wealthy classmates. She once envied Amanda, who had a beautiful bicycle, but now worries that her old friend will embarrass her. Then Nikki, a girl from her new school, drags Hailee into questionable situations, asking her to ditch school, cheat on a quiz, and even egg another student's house. While Hailee's family enjoys their newfound wealth, the money also brings somewhat predictable problems. Tensions mount toward a moving climax; Hailee learns lessons that will come as no surprise but are satisfying nonetheless. Readers who are not quite ready for the serious problems of more graphic YA novels will enjoy this rather lighthearted story-the "bad girl" is not all that bad, and Hailee triumphs over the "mean girls" while realizing that she has not behaved well herself. This is a solid and pleasurable exploration of friendship, materialism, and how money can change everything.-Miranda Doyle, Lake Oswego School District, OR α(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Hailee Richardson is on the lower rung of her neighborhood’s economic ladder, but things take a turn when her parents win the lottery. Though Hailee sees big houses and a horse in her future, the story plays out more realistically. While three million dollars is a lot of money, it’s set up to come in installments over decades, so a new lifestyle isn’t in the works, except for one thing. When Hailee learns that her parents are transferring her to the exclusive Magnolia Academy, she tries to fight it, but soon enough she becomes intrigued with what it offers, even as she tries to redefine her relationship with her neighborhood BFF. Haworth does an excellent job of portraying the modern kid’s life (cell phones, Facebook) mixed with evergreen problems like trying to fit in with the popular crowd and cheating on tests. She also makes the smart decision to have the lottery win be a plot point that propels the story into places that will interest kids most, rather than its center. The fact that religion plays quietly and comfortably into the narrative is another plus. Grades 4-7. --Ilene Cooper