This month’s FYA Book Club selection is Jackpot by Nic Stone. Check out the discussion questions below! (Slight spoilers ahead.)
P.S. If you’ve already read the book, feel free to add any other discussion questions of your own in the comments!
If you won the lottery, what’s the most frivolous purchase you would make? Would your YA self agree or have something else in mind?
1. What did you think about the way Nic Stone explored privilege (both racial and economic) through Rico’s relationships with Zan, Jessica, and Finesse? Did you find it nuanced or too clear cut? Preachy or illuminating?
2. Did you feel the chemistry between Rico and Zan? Why or why not?
3. When Zan asks Rico her ethnicity, she thinks, “This is a sore spot for me because honestly… I don’t know all the pieces. I’m black by societal standards…” Then she calls herself “a mutt.” Did you feel that Rico’s racial identity played a large role in her character? Or was her socioeconomic status more dominant in how she defined herself?
4. Throughout the book, Rico battles with feelings of unworthiness, while Jessica at one point remarks, “I know like… society or whatever suggests otherwise, but my value as a human being has nothing to do with money.” Do you think Jessica feels this way simply because she’s white, or is it more complex than that?
5. Even though Rico’s mom suffers from colitis, she doesn’t have insurance. Rico explains, “The stigma punches at her dignity to the point where she refuses to draw from a system she’s helped feed for as long as tax money’s been taken out of her paychecks.” Rico feels that same stigma, not wanting to be a “Medicaid kid.” With that in mind, would you agree with Zan that Rico is too proud to take what she needs? Or is it more that she’s too afraid to reach for it?
6. Through the perspective of Zan, Nic Stone offers some commentary on the lottery itself, as “an ugly system preying on the hope of the poor and destroying lives.” What’s your opinion on the lottery? And did this book change it?
7. A few chapters in Jackpot are told from the perspective of inanimate objects (a method Nic Stone says she borrowed from A.S. King’s pagoda in Please Ignore Vera Dietz, a previous FYA book club pick!). Did those chapters enrich your experience with the book? Why or why not?
8. In the chapter from Beau Wilcox’s (former) taxi, the car says: “People always talk about how badly blacks have it in this country, but Beau’s skin’s the same color as most CEOs and he sure ain’t gettin’ no legs up… I still think it’s downright shameful the way working-glass folk get treated round here.” What did you think about that observation?