The writing style is breezy and contemporary, and even some of the minor characters have well-defined personalities ... Recommended.
( Book Report, December 2000)
This edgy novel believably captures the nightmare of compulsive gambling.
A compelling character, and Foon gives readers a fast-moving plot with plenty of crisp, authentic dialogue.
Booklist, August 2000
If you were trying to catch a buzz, would you be into drugs or alcohol? Kip is not into either one, but ask him to bet on his English teacher belching in the next twenty seconds and Kip experiences the adrenaline buzz that only comes with the thrill of laying money down. Kip is a good kid, with good grades and the desire to go to college. Unfortunately, what starts out as simple bets with himself and others gets way out of hand when he meets Joey, the girl of his dreams, and her father, King Hewitt, Master Illusionist and compulsive gambler. King soon has Kip gambling on horses and playing slots at the local casinos, where Kip's buzz grows even stronger. As he goes deeper in debt Kip starts skipping school, missing work and ultimately stealing from his college fund. He is sure that just one more big win will get all his money back and he will be back on top. Dennis Foon has written many plays for the stage. This fast read is based on his play Chasing the Money. Students in school and public libraries who like to read about trying to beat the odds will enjoy this book. It has colorful language and a main character who will break your heart. KLIATT Codes: SRecommended for senior high school students. 2000, Firefly/Annick Press, 168p, 19cm, $6.95. Ages 16 to 18. Reviewer: Jamie Lyn Weaver; YA Libn., Geneva P.L., Geneva, IL, July 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 4)
Shortly after maxing out his mother's ATM card at the casino, high school senior Kip Breaker remarks, "Life is a beautiful and mysterious thing, isn't it?" When Kip moves from cafeteria poker to casino slot machines, it becomes clear that his compulsive addiction to gambling has gone too far. The only question is whether he will recoup the money he has stolen from his single, overworked mother. Kip's love of "the buzz" is innocently satisfied with his deadbeat pals in and around the school. Then Kip meets Josephine "Joey" Hewitt, a girl who finally understands him. Kip's hunger to beat the odds, however, is tested when Joey's father, a master illusionist, draws Kip into his own desperate world of high-stakes gambling. Readers will wonder how long Kip can keep his debilitating habit from Joey and still maintain a relationship with her. When Kip begins to drain his college fund without his mother's knowledge, the tension mounts within him as he rationalizes the constant losses with tentative plans to win the money back. Double or Nothing succeeds in taking young readers into the psychologically and financially brutal reality of the compulsive gambler. Young adults will sympathize with Kip as he steadily jeopardizes his future for the rush of a single moment. The ending remedies all too neatly, but the book will leave teen readers with the message that intervention and support can help a person out of his or her private suffering. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J S (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, Firefly, 144p, $17.95. Ages 12 to 18.Reviewer: Beth Gilbert
SOURCE: VOYA, October 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 4)
Gr 9 Up-Kip is a bright, loved, capable young man who gets his kicks from betting-on everything from teacher's behaviors to cafeteria card games played with potato chips to the odds of crashing a car without dying. When he meets and becomes completely infatuated with Joey, the stakes are raised-it just so happens that her father is a compulsive gambler ready to teach Kip all the tricks of the trade. From then on, readers follow the teen as he deceives his hardworking mother, school authorities, companions, casino-security personnel, and even the newly found love of his life. With the use of his mother's bankcard he loses thousands of dollars before realizing that he has hit rock bottom. Although Foon successfully re-creates the thrill of winning and the desperation of the "I just need that one more double or nothing bet," the bulk of the story is weak. While it's realistic that Kip's mother would lend him her bankcard, it is inconceivable that she would not need it back or check her bank statements for months afterward. Why is no one alarmed when this basically promising student all of a sudden stops attending school for long periods of time? And why isn't Kip's smart, savvy girlfriend suspicious? Foon devotes 19 chapters to the teen's demise and 2 pages to his recovery-it is simply too hard to believe. Librarians would make use of a solid title to illustrate the dangers of compulsive gambling, but this is not it.-Joanne K. Cecere, Highland High School, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
A powerful picture of the temptations of the quick buck, and the very real effects of a gambling addiction... intensely gripping ... A teacher's guide is available, and I suspect this would make a very good novel study for early high-school students. Recommended.
Canadian Materials - Mary Thomas
Foon's tight and economical writing keeps the story moving at a pace that mirrors the speed at which Kip spots a gambling opportunity, acts on it, rationalizes any losses and then moves on.