Sometimes, life gives you a few moments to just put your feet up, relax and turn the pages of a good book. My most recent moment like that was within the pages of You May Already be a Winner by Ann Dee Ellis, which I received in exchange for this review.
I found You May Already be a Winner an intriguing book.
Meet Olivia, she is doing her best to handle her circumstances. She lives in your typical neighborhood where neighbors know their neighbors.
I was a bit confused in the beginning about Olivia’s daydreams. I feel the book really gets pulled down with this aspect of Olivia’s character and it distracted from the storyline. I do, however, like the opening where Olivia says, “One day I sunk to the bottom of the pool and died.” She does not…it was a daydream.
I also recognize Olivia’s daydreams are escapes from the parts of her life that she finds unpleasant, like staying home from school to look after her little sister, Berkeley, cleaning the trailer, filling in for her mom, who is too tired to parent.
The trailer I mentioned, it’s in Sunny Pines, “a trailer park attached to a KOA”.
This being said, Olivia is a character I found to be well-developed.
Olivia steps up where her parents do not and wants to give Berkeley something better. That’s the reason she begins entering online contests…as many as she can find.
Olivia has a friend, Bart, who is eccentric. He claims to be an FBI agent, placed for surveillance in Sunny Pines. This is the storyline that takes our attention.
Olivia’s father? He never answers her emails and Olivia shares he is helping rangers in Bryce Canyon
Since sixth graders, who don’t go to school, typically get visits from social services. Will Olivia be able to handle this situation?
It’s a humorous story with a heartbreaking plot as we follow Olivia’s struggle to keep hope alive for Berkeley and herself.
You May Already Be A Winner Synopsis:
As a twelve-year-old, Olivia Hales has big plans and a foolproof plan for saving them both and leaving behind Sunny Pines Trailer Park.
But first she has to:
– Fix the swamp cooler and make dinner and put Berkeley to bed because her mom is too busy to do all that
– Write another letter to her dad even though he hasn’t written back yet
– Teach Berk the important stuff, like how to make chalk drawings, because they can’t afford daycare and Olivia has to stay home from school to watch her
– Petition her oddball neighbors for a circus spectacular, because there needs to be something to look forward to at dumb-bum Sunny Pines
– Become a super-secret spy to impress her new friend Bart
– Enter a minimum of fourteen sweepstakes a day. Who knows? She may already be a winner!
Olivia has thought of everything . . . except herself. Who will take care of her when she needs it? Luckily, somewhere deep down between her small intestine and stomach is a tiny voice reminding her that sometimes people can surprise you–and sometimes your family is right next door.
I enjoyed this book. I would have enjoyed it more without the daydreams coming and going, but overall, it was a great read.