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Jackpot by Nic Stone is a YA novel with a slow burn romance centered on a teenager trying to track down the owner of a winning lotto ticket. Rico works as many hours as she can at the Gas 'n' Go to help with bills. She has a single mom and a nine year old brother and no future beyond finishing high school and working retail for the rest of her life.
Rico sells three tickets before the lotto and one of them is a winner. She knows she doesn't have the ticket and she knows the man who always pays with a fifty dollar bill didn't buy it. That leaves a little old lady with a self-described faulty memory. Rico hopes if she helps the woman remember that she bought the ticket, she might get a finder's fee reward.
Enter Zan – a wealthy classmate, heir to a huge company. He knows computers and can help get access to the security footage from the store. After he helps once, though, he keeps on helping. Although Rico struggles to imagine the life Zan lives she does slowly become friends with him.
The relationship between Rico and Zan is refreshing. It's not love at first site, even though Rico is attracted to him. Nor is he trying to save her. His feelings for her grow out of an admiration for her closeness to her family and her freedom — two things he doesn't feel he has. Essentially both see the traits they wish for themselves in the other. That combined with the search for the woman bring them together.
Interspersed with Rico's story are points of view from other key pieces of the puzzle. Think of them as MacGuffins that offer further insight into the situation. They're there to give the reader knowledge Rico doesn't have, to build suspense and tension.
From start to finish Jackpot was a delight to read. It has a happy, albeit surprising ending.