Big Winner

Orca. (Orca Currents). Apr. 2023. 128p. pap. $10.95. ISBN 9781459834064.
Gr 4-8–When 14-year-old Skye’s family moves to the East Coast, she loses everything familiar to her. To cope, she gets a job at a coffee shop. There she meets Digby, a local group home resident. He loves ping-pong and is particular about how things get done. After the winning lottery numbers are announced, Digby comes into the coffee shop all excited, saying he has the winning ticket. Soon, however, Skye worries that the town is taking advantage of Digby. Can Skye be the friend he needs and help him to see the truth? Or will Digby take it the wrong way? This story is well written, humorous, and draws readers into Skye and Digby’s lives. The message and themes of kindness and real friendship are heartening. Plot twists add depth and nuance, and the characters are likable and realistic. Layout is dyslexic-friendly with heavy bottom fonts, letter spacing, and white space. Characters are cued white. The book is written at a second grade level.
VERDICT Striving readers who like realistic fiction, friendship stories, or who have ever dreamed of winning the lottery when they get older will want to pick this one up. Recommend for libraries where realistic fiction and hi-lo titles are popular.

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