You May Already Be a Winner
For fans of Ali Benjamin's The Thing About Jellyfish and Katherine Applegate's Crenshaw comes the humorous and heart aching story of one girl's struggle to keep hope alive for her and her younger sister in Sunny Pines Trailer Park. Twelve-year-old Olivia Hales has a foolproof plan for winning a million dollars so that she and her little sister, Berkeley, can leave 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 day care 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.

You May Already Be a Winner Details

TitleYou May Already Be a Winner
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherDial Books
ISBN1101993855
ISBN-139781101993859
Number of pages352 pages
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Fiction

You May Already Be a Winner Review

  • Medeia Sharif
    June 27, 2017
    I was torn on whether to give this book 3 or 4 stars...so I'll say it's a 3.5. Great voice and characters here, but certain scenes seem rushed or shifting too fast and other scenes have numerous names dropped, adding confusion to the story. This will not prevent me from reading more from the author. NetGalley and the publisher provided a review copy.
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  • K.L. Beckmeyer
    June 9, 2017
    Quite frankly, I love it. I love Olivia.The write up for this book should be scraped, it doesn't do it justice. Olivia Hale is an older sister who feels responsible for everything. Olivia Hale is trying to keep her family together and convince herself that everything is going to be okay. Olivia Hale is really, truly 12, and will teach you life lessons without ever preaching a word. Olivia Hale is about to find out who her friends and family are, and you'll love going along for the ride.
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  • Josie Stewart
    June 3, 2017
    Thank you to NetGallery for this ARC. Loved the stream of thinking free style writing. The characters felt very real and you can't help but pull for Olivia and her sister and her new best friend as they deal with family changes. The author really gave me sense of hope and community as well.
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  • Lindsey
    April 9, 2017
    Olivia lives in a trailer park with her mom, little sister Berkely and a variety of characters who live nearby and are just as much a part of her family. She deals with missing her absent father by entering as many contests as she can and emailing him frequently. Olivia also makes up scenarios in her head that make her feel better about certain situations and paint her as a hero that she wants to be. The book is full of run on sentences, as we are inside Olivia's head, and she really seems frant Olivia lives in a trailer park with her mom, little sister Berkely and a variety of characters who live nearby and are just as much a part of her family. She deals with missing her absent father by entering as many contests as she can and emailing him frequently. Olivia also makes up scenarios in her head that make her feel better about certain situations and paint her as a hero that she wants to be. The book is full of run on sentences, as we are inside Olivia's head, and she really seems frantic to deal with everything thrown her way. Too much for a 12 year old to be handling, thanks to her messed up family life and a serious lack of communication. I really felt for Olivia and the tough position she was put in by her loving but neglectful mother and absent father. I felt for her little sister Berkely, who would rather stay at home than go to daycare and wants to have a circus. I felt for their friend Bart, who was full of lies but has a good heart. My biggest problem with this book is that because it was from Olivia's point of view and no adult was telling her the truth, it was hard to get a real feel for things that were going on. And I really wish that the resolution had been longer. The issues Olivia and her family are dealing with aren't resolved in 3 pages and a couple sentences. I needed to know more about what was going on on the adult side. It speaks down to the readers assuming that they wouldn't want to know more about how things are going to turn out. Olivia's father, in particular... it's barely explained why he left and why he came back and what he's been up to. Ultimately, it was a well written book with moving characters and storylines and I really enjoyed it, but was let down by the ending. It needed to be longer, or something needed to be cut and more added to the end instead.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    June 14, 2017
    Copy provided by the publisherOlivia's family lives in a trailer park and has been struggling ever since her father walked out. Her younger sister, Berkeley, is unable to go to child care because she's had a cough, and since their mother needs to go to work, Olivia has been staying home from school. She is very conscientious about making sure her sister does school work, plays outside, and has her meals, but it's not an ideal situation. Eventually, the school demands that Olivia goes back. She's Copy provided by the publisherOlivia's family lives in a trailer park and has been struggling ever since her father walked out. Her younger sister, Berkeley, is unable to go to child care because she's had a cough, and since their mother needs to go to work, Olivia has been staying home from school. She is very conscientious about making sure her sister does school work, plays outside, and has her meals, but it's not an ideal situation. Eventually, the school demands that Olivia goes back. She's not thrilled with the idea, especially since she has met a boy, Bart, who has been hanging around the park. Olivia writes letters to her father, whom she believes is working at a national park, but doesn't hear back from him. It's tough to go back to school, but even tougher when her mother wants her to take Berkeley to school with her. She does this successfully for a few days, hiding her in a broom closet with activities and food, but eventually the girls are found out. Social Services finds their father and sends their mother away, and things slowly return to a new normal.Strengths: This was an intriguing book, and my readers enjoy stories of young people on their own, trying to make up for dysfunction parenting. The stories of Jacqueline Wilson, especially Lily Alone,Castelman's Sara, Lost and Found, Connor's Waiting For Normal, and even Tanaka's disturbing Nobody Knows are all popular in my library. The family problems were realistic, and Olivia tried her best to handle her circumstances. I enjoyed the neighborhood, especially since it seemed very much like any other neighborhood where residents know each other. My grandparents lived in Countryside Estates near Ravenna, Ohio for several years. Weaknesses: At almost 350 pages, this is a bit on the long side. Since Olivia's rich imaginary life is somewhat confusing (especially at the beginning of the book), I think the story would have been stronger without her daydreams. What I really think: No one dies! The cover and title of this one are both strong, and I think this one will see steady circulation.
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  • Suz
    June 21, 2017
    Olivia is a character that is full of life, which is a funny thing since she begins her story with, "One day I sunk to the bottom of the pool and died." It turns out that she did not die, but she does have very vivid daydreams. The daydreams are a way to escape from the unpleasant parts of her life, things like having to stay home from school and watch Berk, cleaning the trailer and fixing dinner because her mom comes home too tired to do it, or writing emails to her father that are never answer Olivia is a character that is full of life, which is a funny thing since she begins her story with, "One day I sunk to the bottom of the pool and died." It turns out that she did not die, but she does have very vivid daydreams. The daydreams are a way to escape from the unpleasant parts of her life, things like having to stay home from school and watch Berk, cleaning the trailer and fixing dinner because her mom comes home too tired to do it, or writing emails to her father that are never answered. Olivia, her mother, and her sister Berkeley live in Sunny Pines, "a trailer park attached to a KOA." Olivia becomes determined to offer Berk something better, so she enters online contests, as many as she can find. The sweepstakes entries are another coping mechanism to deal with missing her father, the loss of her best friend, having to stay home from school, and all the other negative circumstances in her life.Along with Olivia, we see her neighbors and learn their stories, too. We also meet her eccentric friend, Bart. Can he really be an agent for the FBI doing surveillance in Sunny Pines? That is only one question we try to find the answer to as the story unfolds. We also wonder if her father is really off helping the rangers in Bryce Canyon and when child & family services will intervene in their lives. Sixth graders can't just stop coming to school without local agencies getting involved. And we wonder, just as Olivia does, what will happen when their situation is discovered.The setting and characters are full of realistic details, and we can recognize how easily a family could wind up in the same condition as Olivia's. We laugh at her daydreams of heroically fighting fires or receiving the kiss of life from the life guard, but we also understand that we are laughing to keep from crying over her life. This is a strong piece of realistic fiction that showcases a memorable character. Fans of See You in the Cosmos might enjoy Olivia's tale.I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
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  • Melissa Miles
    May 24, 2017
    As someone who's spent my career working with and advocating for children, books like You May Already Be a Winner appeal to me. When I read the description of the book, it reminded me of two of Kate DiCamillo's books (Because of Winn Dixie and Raymie Nightingale-both of which I loved), and the cover is perfection. I found the narrative a bit harder to follow in this novel, however due to the "stream of consciousness" approach of the first person point of view. The MC Olivia was dealing with way As someone who's spent my career working with and advocating for children, books like You May Already Be a Winner appeal to me. When I read the description of the book, it reminded me of two of Kate DiCamillo's books (Because of Winn Dixie and Raymie Nightingale-both of which I loved), and the cover is perfection. I found the narrative a bit harder to follow in this novel, however due to the "stream of consciousness" approach of the first person point of view. The MC Olivia was dealing with way more pressure than a child of 12 should ever have to handle. So, I cut her some slack for the wandering thought processes and the frequent delving into pure fantasy. There is plenty to like about this book. If you're a teacher or work with children in any capacity, it's a reminder that we shouldn't make any assumptions about the home lives of our students. Childhood poverty is a very real issue that impacts the learning and welfare of students on a daily basis. I appreciated the moments of tenderness between Olivia and her mother, but I felt that the parental characters could have been better developed. Overall, this is a solid middle grade novel with plenty of heart. *I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Maryalice
    June 17, 2017
    I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Twelve year old Olivia has the responsibility of someone much older. With her mom working overtime to make ends meet and her dad “away” in Bryce Canyon, Liv tries to keep her little sister Berkeley entertained. Since Berk can’t go to daycare anymore, Liv stays home from school and looks after her, making sure they take time to practice various subjects in their workbooks. Life in Sunny Pines Trailer I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Twelve year old Olivia has the responsibility of someone much older. With her mom working overtime to make ends meet and her dad “away” in Bryce Canyon, Liv tries to keep her little sister Berkeley entertained. Since Berk can’t go to daycare anymore, Liv stays home from school and looks after her, making sure they take time to practice various subjects in their workbooks. Life in Sunny Pines Trailer Park isn’t always sunny and happy. Olivia’s former best friend has moved on, and Olivia begins to wonder about feelings she might have for a boy. Trying to distract Berk from their misfortune further, Olivia comes up with a circus spectacular, so they have something to plan and look forward to. As her mother’s resolve begins to crack, Liv has to take on even more responsibility. Determined to change their luck, Olivia follows a very strict routine of entering online contests, that is until their computer dies and the librarian asks questions about why the girls aren’t in school. THOUGHTS: This is a heartbreaking look at family dynamics and being honest with oneself and each other. With Olivia’s wild imagination, there are parts of her story that are fabricated, and those may confuse young readers, but it is a beautiful story of sisterhood, hope, and not giving up on those you love.
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  • Jessica
    June 1, 2017
    Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC! This book was really quite heart-breaking, even if all ended ok at the end. As a teacher, these sorts of books touch me more: kids in bad situations, feeling like they have to take on things their parents should be doing. The main character (and her mysterious new friend whom I thoroughly enjoyed as he lied his way through the book) were written in a very real way. I often had trouble realizing at first that the little girl was spinning a fantasy until the way sh Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC! This book was really quite heart-breaking, even if all ended ok at the end. As a teacher, these sorts of books touch me more: kids in bad situations, feeling like they have to take on things their parents should be doing. The main character (and her mysterious new friend whom I thoroughly enjoyed as he lied his way through the book) were written in a very real way. I often had trouble realizing at first that the little girl was spinning a fantasy until the way she described it was ridiculous; then I made myself go back over and re-read where her fantasy began. For example, what kid does not wish he or she would stand on a table and yell at someone? Then you see where she was just imagining it, and she feels deflated after her fantasy when everything is the same in the reality she does not want. I thought the feelings were pretty accurate for her age, the age of her friends, and her little sister. It made it a little trickier to read because you are seeing it from the eyes of a child, but that is what I really loved about it. Overall, a good read, even for a slightly older audience than middle grade, because of the characters' struggles.
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  • Niki
    June 25, 2017
    NOTE: I received an eARC via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my review.You May Already Be A Winner by Ann Dee Ellis is a heart-wrenching tale about a young girl, Olivia, who feels the responsibility of everything. Her father left a year ago and her mother is struggling to hold their lives in the trailer park together, so Olivia takes on more and more responsibility, especially of her younger sister, Berkeley. Olivia also obsessively enters contests, determined to win... just about an NOTE: I received an eARC via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my review.You May Already Be A Winner by Ann Dee Ellis is a heart-wrenching tale about a young girl, Olivia, who feels the responsibility of everything. Her father left a year ago and her mother is struggling to hold their lives in the trailer park together, so Olivia takes on more and more responsibility, especially of her younger sister, Berkeley. Olivia also obsessively enters contests, determined to win... just about anything.You May Already Be A Winner is a good novel for highlighting some of the struggles around poverty, broken homes, and growing up. An important book when considering diverse characters - not everyone's lives are all rosey and rich.Olivia disappears into her own headspace frequently throughout the novel and while I can somewhat appreciate those moments for developing her mental state in the novel, I found them slightly annoying and found myself rushing to finish those parts, so I could carry on reading the actual storyline, which I found more interesting.
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  • Heidi Dawn
    May 22, 2017
    You May Already be a Winner by Ann Dee Ellis was made available to me as an ARC courtesy of Netgalley and the publisher. The story and characters are engaging and the perspective from a 12 year old precocious girl is well done. Premise: family fallen on hard times, told from the imaginative and caring older daughter's point of view. I felt that there were three very especially touching themes which I most appreciated: that of the older/younger sibling bond (exceptionally well done), the bond of You May Already be a Winner by Ann Dee Ellis was made available to me as an ARC courtesy of Netgalley and the publisher. The story and characters are engaging and the perspective from a 12 year old precocious girl is well done. Premise: family fallen on hard times, told from the imaginative and caring older daughter's point of view. I felt that there were three very especially touching themes which I most appreciated: that of the older/younger sibling bond (exceptionally well done), the bond of friendship and community (middle schoolers, adults, neighbors in a mobile home park), and finally, the theme of the benefit of humility against the hubris of arrogance or denial. Surprisingly as a mother, I found myself very much identifying with the two middle school protagonists at different times. That in itself, was a treat. Really well done little gem that I will recommend to my 14 and 12 year old daughters. I teared up at the end!
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  • Kim McGee
    June 24, 2017
    Olivia has a lot of responsibility in her young life. Her mom is trying to single parent while her dad is away and she isn't the best parent to begin with so Olivia is shouldering much of the care of her younger sister, Berkley. Berk is happy to stay with Olivia so she can get out of day care and that means Olivia stays home and misses school - a lot. The pair fill their days entering contests, hanging out at the library and the trailer park where they live and writing to her absent dad. Despite Olivia has a lot of responsibility in her young life. Her mom is trying to single parent while her dad is away and she isn't the best parent to begin with so Olivia is shouldering much of the care of her younger sister, Berkley. Berk is happy to stay with Olivia so she can get out of day care and that means Olivia stays home and misses school - a lot. The pair fill their days entering contests, hanging out at the library and the trailer park where they live and writing to her absent dad. Despite all the negative influences and hurtles in Olivia's life, she remains positive and hopeful. She deals with problems head on and is a great character - one that can see the pinprick of light at the end of the long tunnel. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
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  • Miranda
    June 15, 2017
    An endearing coming of age story set in a Utah trailer park. I especially liked the relatable real-life ending.
  • Aileen H
    June 14, 2017
    Thank you, NetGalley, for this ARC. I think MG readers will like the point of view of this text. The problems were realistic. Some memorable characters here.
  • Mary
    May 12, 2017
    Olivia is a bit quirky and quite endearing. My heart ached for her challenges but admired her for how she persisted. I would not be surprised if this book gets an option to become a movie.
  • Olivia
    April 4, 2017
    I would defenetily rate this book 10,000 stars if I could from the first page to the very end I was intreeged could'nt put the book down until I finished it and I can really connect to it because the book is already talking about me Olivia who sounds totaly like me. The book is about two little girls whos dad left them a long time ago and 12 year old Olivia will not stop trying until her family is back in there feet in the meentime she has to fake a sickness so she can take care of her 5 year o I would defenetily rate this book 10,000 stars if I could from the first page to the very end I was intreeged could'nt put the book down until I finished it and I can really connect to it because the book is already talking about me Olivia who sounds totaly like me. The book is about two little girls whos dad left them a long time ago and 12 year old Olivia will not stop trying until her family is back in there feet in the meentime she has to fake a sickness so she can take care of her 5 year old sister Berekely and plan a circus thats not going to happen. And with her mom not being around because of her job Olivia has to be the mom of the house by making dinner and doing laundry. But in this fantstic book it really just opens up to you.
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  • Elise (The Bookish Actress)
    January 30, 2017
    4 stars. This is a really great children's book. THE GOODThe writing style is unique, to say the least. But once you get used to the style, this book reads very well. The main character's emotions are shown, not told, which is very different from most children's books. And oh man. The emotional content of this one really got to me. I loved the emphasis on choosing your family. THE BADI couldn't connect to the narrator in any way. She wasn't a bad narrator, but her reactions to things were very a 4 stars. This is a really great children's book. THE GOODThe writing style is unique, to say the least. But once you get used to the style, this book reads very well. The main character's emotions are shown, not told, which is very different from most children's books. And oh man. The emotional content of this one really got to me. I loved the emphasis on choosing your family. THE BADI couldn't connect to the narrator in any way. She wasn't a bad narrator, but her reactions to things were very all-or-nothing. The mother's issues were never really explained or developed in any way. One of my favorite books of all time, Waiting For Normal, succeeds in part because the mother's character is so developed. This book doesn't do a good job of that, which makes the ending fall just a little flat.
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  • Stephanie Maendel
    January 17, 2017
    You May Already Be A Winner. By Ann Dee Ellis.3 out of 5 stars.In Ann Dee Ellis’s middle grade debut, you find a touching story of a girl named Olivia, her younger sister Berkeley, and their strange friend Bart. It follow Olivia’s daily life and shows us what it’s like to have separated parents, and how it feels to have a loving mom, yet still somehow feel neglected. It is written in (What I like to call) ‘Junie B. Jones’ style, which simply means it is written as if you were inside of someone's You May Already Be A Winner. By Ann Dee Ellis.3 out of 5 stars.In Ann Dee Ellis’s middle grade debut, you find a touching story of a girl named Olivia, her younger sister Berkeley, and their strange friend Bart. It follow Olivia’s daily life and shows us what it’s like to have separated parents, and how it feels to have a loving mom, yet still somehow feel neglected. It is written in (What I like to call) ‘Junie B. Jones’ style, which simply means it is written as if you were inside of someone's head, with some thoughts jumbled and some that don’t quite make sense. It was an extremely adorable novel for anyone who wants to have a quick, touching, and funny read.
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