School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—In this follow-up to Liar, Liar (Random, 2011), 14-year-old Kevin has lost his allowance for a month thanks to his lying habit, so he has to find a way to make some cash. As quick as a wink, he puts his business savvy and his creativity to work and gets poker games going, delivers homemade cookies to a college campus, and starts a beauty service (with his big sister's help), among other initiatives. The money begins to flow in, but so does the trouble; not everyone is thrilled with Kevin's schemes, including the campus cops, his friends, and a local business owner. Throughout the book, business lessons are woven in by the clever narrator. Fans of the first book will enjoy this quick, fun lesson in cause and effect.—Amanda Moss Struckmeyer, Middleton Public Library, WI
From the Publisher
Booklist, June 1, 2011:
"If the unnamed narrator of Paulsen’s Lawn Boy (2007) is the plucky entrepreneur who skyrockets to riches, Kevin is the wannabe mogul who sees an angle a mile away but trips over his own sky’s-the-limit aspirations. A glib, quick read to launch a thousand MBAs."
Children's Literature - Heather Welsh
Money makes the world go round for fourteen-year-old Kevin Spencer. That is, it did until his parents put him on the "If-you-Lie-Bad-Things-Will-Happen" program because he duped everyone in his life. Now, Kevin has no income at all. Now, there is no way he will be able to convince Tina Zabinski to go the dance with him because girls are only attracted to rich, successful guys. So Kevin hatches a plan, borrows a little cash from his sister and starts a poker business in his aunt's shop. It doesn't get any easier than this, right? The problem with people who love money is that they usually get greedy. So, Kevin decides to expand the business to include a beauty salon out of his sister's bathroom, cleaning garages and catering snacks to college kids with the munchies. In order to be successful, Kevin "borrows" a golf cart and begins dumping the trash from the garages in the dumpsters outside businesses without asking. No one said he couldn't, so what could go wrong? Will he catch Tina's eye and find the time to ask her to the dance in the middle of all the chaos? Will his businesses be a huge success, or an epic failure? It's not necessary to read the companion book entitled Liar, Liar, but readers will most likely want to know more about the back story of why Kevin is in trouble in Flat Broke. The chapters are short, which will appeal to reluctant readers, and the book is written in a conversational way that will appeal to all readers. Reviewer: Heather Welsh
A 14-year-old greedily launches himself headlong into the entrepreneurial world, with amusing consequences.
In the sequel to Liar, Liar (2011), Kevin's parents have taken away his allowance to punish him for his creative lying. Never impeded by misfortune (or a guilty conscience or the advice of everyone wiser than he), he decides it's a great time to make money. First he provides the perfect venue for poker games, even though some of his hapless player-victims begin to lose more money than they have. With the gambling business running admirably, he starts cleaning neighbors' garages, not worrying that depositing the trash in store Dumpsters is illegal. Then he begins "borrowing" a golf cart to sell cookies and coffee to college students. But he steps on too many people on the way up, inevitably leading to his downfall. Kevin's good-natured—if oversimplified—view of the world is pretty funny, and while readers will anticipate problems long before he does, it just adds to the fun. Chapter titles taken from a fictitious book on making money—"The Successful Person Has Vision That Others Lack," for example—contrast nicely with the disastrous outcome of Kevin's grandiose plans. That his droll first-person account only lightly sketches other characters hardly matters.
A jocular, fast-paced voyage into the sometimes simple but never quiet mind of an ambitious eighth grader. (Fiction. 9-12)