Chelsea is desperate. Her dad’s nonchalance about work and money is not getting their bills paid. If she waits much longer, their power will get turned off – again – or they’ll get evicted.
Chelsea catches a poker game on TV, and an idea starts to form. She’s technically not old enough to gamble. But if she’s lucky, and no one cards her, maybe she can make enough money to not only pay their bills but also cover her cheerleading fees. And if she’s really lucky, she might have enough to live a “normal” life like her friends! Chelsea’s going to have to bluff a lot to pull this off!
Welcome to the Blog Tour for Bluff by Julie Dill. I am grateful to the folks at PR by the Book for inviting me to be a part of the tour and for providing an electronic review copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
This is not a book I would have sought out on my own to read, but I am so glad I had a chance to read it. The story was completely engrossing. I was often holding my breath to see if Chelsea was going to pull things off or get caught. The suspense was really well-paced. The poker and gambling pieces were fairly easy to follow even thought I’ve never been to a casino.
The best part of the storytelling for me was how well the author made Chelsea sympathetic. Chelsea was carrying the full load of responsibility for the finances of her family. She was negotiating to keep the power on but at the same time she had no idea what happens when you put a full tank of gas in a car. She only ever put in a few dollars at a time – whatever she had to spare. When she wins at poker and goes shopping, she thinks, “Is this what it’s like to be normal?” It broke my heart. She longs to fit in with the girls at her school who buy whatever they want whenever they want it. Her best friend gives her $100 without a thought. These are things Chelsea has never experienced. Until now.
It’s easy to see how Chelsea gets sucked into gambling. The money she wins gives her a sense of freedom. But losing leaves her desperate. She gives it up for awhile but gets drawn back in whenever she has a little money in her pocket and the need for the thrill. The author does a great job of showing the addictive side to gambling!
There’s a romantic subplot that amps up the tension and adds to the things Chelsea is lying about and the number of people she is lying to. There’s also some language.
This was a great story! For me it was a nice change of pace from my usual teen story lines. I appreciated the opportunity to consider the issue of teens and addiction from a different perspective from drinking or drugs. This would be an interesting book to read with teens and talk through. This is an author I would certainly read again! Thanks once more to PR by the Book and Julie Dill for the opportunity to be a part of the #BluffBlogTour and to read Bluff.