What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Nikki Tate is infamous, even by Las Vegas standards. Her dad is sitting on death row, convicted of killing his best friend in a gambling dispute turned ugly. And for five years, he's maintained his innocence. But Nikki wants no part of that. She's been working on Operation Escape Vegas: playing in illegal card games so she can save up enough money to get out come graduation day.
Then her dad's murder conviction is overturned. The new evidence seems to come out of nowhere and Nikki's life becomes a mess when he's released from prison. Because the dad who comes home is not the dad she remembers. And he's desperately obsessed with finding out who framed himand why.
As her dad digs into the seedy underbelly of Vegas, the past threatens everything and Nikki is drawn into his deadly hunt for the truth. But in the city of sin, some sinners will do anything to keep their secrets, and Nikki soon finds herself playing for the biggest gamble everher life.
Lamar Giles is the author of Spin; Overturned, which was a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers; Fake ID, which was an Edgar Award finalist and a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers; and Endangered, which was also an Edgar Award finalist, as well as the editor of the anthology Fresh Ink. Lamar is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books. He resides in Virginia with his wife.
Overturned 5 out of 5based on
3 months ago
Overturned by Lamar Giles is a realistic fiction story about the journey of Las Vegas teenager Nikki Tate. She has grown up inside her family casino, Andromeda’s, and feels most at home on the game room floor. Her dad is the world-renowned poker player Nathan Tate, who was convicted of murdering his best friend and sits on death row. For the last five years, Nikki has adjusted to a life without her dad by writing him letters and ignoring the constant barrage of press. On the outside, she appears to be a normal teenager, playing on the high school soccer team and hanging out with her two best friends Molly and Gavin. She even has a crush on Davis Carlino, the son of the owner of a rival casino. By night, she runs illegal poker rings in the basement of the casino, using her inherited poker talent to boost her college fund. However, when Nathan is found to be wrongfully convicted and is released from prison, Nikki’s life is flipped upside down. Nathan is obsessed with finding the person who caused his imprisonment and goes on a search with dire consequences. Nikki is caught in the balance and cannot make sense of the sea of friends and enemies around her. Will Nathan find his framer, and what secrets will the Tate family uncover in the process? Read the book to find out.
The storyline of this book was fast-paced and exciting. Strong emotions like romance, grief, and jealousy pulsated through the plot, keeping my attention. While most plots follow a roller coaster diagram with a bump at the climax, reading Overturned felt like one continuous peak. The buildup was almost as exciting as the high itself. The life of gamblers in Sin City is bound to be an eventful one, and this book did a great job of capturing that excitement while still producing a well-conceived story.
Another great aspect of this book was the character development. Overturned struck a delicate balance between character personalities to make them more relatable to the reader. For example, the bright, bold personality of Nikki was balanced by gentle giant Gavin. This balance prevented Nikki from dominating the entire plot and allowed the reader to see other aspects of her personality. Also, I enjoyed the rivalry created between the Tates and Carlinos. It added more depth to the romance between Nikki and Davis, and more fire to Nathan Tate's search for his framer as he ruled out possibilities.
I would recommend this book to any teenage reader. The presence of violence and gambling in this book may make it too much for a younger reader to handle. Also, the more subtle emotional connections between characters may be lost to a young, innocent reader even if they are able to handle everything else.
Review by Anya A, age 14, Metropolitan Washington Mensa
More than 1 year ago
Overturned by Lamar Giles has a unique plot and sarcastic humor. The second line of the book is priceless, "He was my dad's latest and greatest attorney from the law firm of Cheap Suit, Bald Spot & Smoker's Cough." I immediately appreciated the author's use of humor. Nikki Tate is keeping her family's business running while her father is in prison. Nikki's mother tries to help but is not quite capable enough to handle the casino business on her own. Her father is released from prison and sees that Nikki is using her gambling knowledge and card skills to earn money for college and what she considers freedom. Nikki has a crush on Davis, the new student. Davis' family owns the new casino in Las Vegas that Nikki's father seems to be spending a lot of time at. He's also showing Nikki the ropes of high stakes gambling. Nikki and Davis' relationship is adorable and the dent they made in the hood of a borrowed car while kissing made me laugh out loud. Things take a turn for the worse when Nikki gets a crime scene thrust in front of her eyes. The mystery builds and then unravels. The author created complex and wonderful characters; I cared about them and enjoyed their personalities: Nikki's maturity and intelligence, Molly's snark and loyalty and Gavin and his protectiveness. 5 stars for an interesting mystery that kept me entertained!
More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Of course wanting to find out "who did it" kept the pages turning, but it was SO MUCH MORE that kept me reading way, way too late into the night. The main character, Nikki Tate, is so relatable and real that she stuck with me for many days after I finished the book. Not only is it a whirlwind ride through the side of Las Vegas tourists will never see, but it's so fully developed that I felt like I was right there with Nikki everywhere from her high school to her casino to the illegal gambling rooms. I also loved that there was not only an adorable (though complicated!) romance, but also a real friendship story. The best friends weren't just mentioned and forgotten--they were real and grew through the story. I highly recommend this book!
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