Publication date: February 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Chelsea Knowles is surrounded by the privileged. Michael Kors gym bags and designer shoes are part of her daily scene, but the talented cheerleader has a secret: she and her dad can barely pay the bills. Broken by his wife walking out on their family, Chelsea’s father ignores his responsibilities. Between cheer costs, grocery bills, electricity, and other regular financial burdens, it’s no surprise when a cut-off notice arrives in the mail. Chelsea knows it’ll be up to her to keep the lights on.
With the deck stacked against her, Chelsea decides to bet their future on the dubious poker knowledge she learned from her father before he gave up on parenting. Nervous but determined, Chelsea heads to a casino with very little security and wins big. Thrilled by her win, she’s quickly drawn to the casino again and again. She risks it all, especially when the attractive, young pit boss , Nate takes an interest in her.
Chelsea’s life, no longer filled with cheerleading, school, and hanging out with her friends, is now consumed by smoky casino floors and the ups and downs of a gambler’s life. True gamblers know when to fold, but Chelsea keeps betting long after her needs are met. The complicated web of lies soon begins to spin out of control, threatening to expose everything. Will someone see through her bluff?
Chelsea, a 17 yr old girl, to meet her and her father’s need for money she decides to play poker, under the false name of Chandra. When in front of casino she saw that no one is checking the IDs so she decides to give gambling a try. But soon poker transforms into something she can’t stay away from…
I think the best thing about this novel was that I was easily able to relate to Chelsea. Chelsea is like any 17 yr old girl, having dreams and desires. But in the same time, she is also very different, she has a irresponsible father, so the responsibility of the whole house, to pay all the bills is on her shoulder. Chelsea character was a really well built one.
Another thing that I liked about this book is Chelsea and Ms Stella’s friendship. Chelsea and Ms Stella met at the casino, and Chelsea was immediately drawn to her. Both have their own set of secrets, which both of them keep to themselves, they don’t ask each other questions. They both realise that friendship is more important than feeding their curiosity.
I also liked Nate and Chelsea’s romance. Their were some really cute moments between them. Nate knew her as Chandra but still when he discovered her truth he didn’t break their relationship, and understood her.
This novel showed gambling/poker addiction really well.
“I go straight to the bank to cash it. Although it’s money already spent, it feels so nice, these two $100 bills in my hands. It triggers the memories of a big win, and the rush of having stacks of money in my purse. It’s the equivalent of an alcoholic taking that one little sip. The one little, dangerous sip that sends everything spiraling.” ~Chelsea
Sometimes a event triggered a childhood memory, so snippets from Chelsea’s childhood were thrown here and there through the book. These snippets showed Chelsea and her father’s relationship after her mother left. These were really sweet.
Even though Bluff was not from the genre mystery but it was quite a page turner for me because l found myself asking questions like When will all this end? What would happen when casino people will know about her age? What will happen when Chelsea’s dad would know about gambling? How would he react? What will happen to Ms Stella and Chelsea’s relationship? And what about Nate and Chelsea? In the quest of finding the answer to these questions I kept on reading more and more.
Bluff had a different kind of end, that is not very typical. It was quite unpredictable and really very practical. It’s kind of a end where your heart doesn’t want it that way but your brain says this is what happens in real life. But inspite of this dilemma I quite liked the end.
Overall I would say that Bluff is a different kind of story and also a very well written one, which you would surely love if you are a Young Adult fan.
LIFE AT 17 RATING:
Julie Dill lives in Oklahoma City where the wind always comes sweeping down the plains—literally.
As a young girl she always wanted to be a teacher, so she went on to receive her Bachelor’s of Science in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and taught in elementary schools for ten years. Currently, she serves as an adjunct professor and loves helping students achieve success. One of her greatest professional accomplishments is earning her National Board Certification.
She holds a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Oklahoma City University and continues to work on various writing projects. From hiking in Colorado, to playing poker in Vegas, she’s always up for a new challenge. Julie is a busy mom of two teenage daughters, and any extra time that she may carve out is spent reading, writing, and rooting for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Her debut novel, Bluff, is scheduled to be released on February 7th, 2017.
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