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Breaking the Bank

3.26  ·  Rating Details ·  155 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews

A fresh and whimsical novel featuring a single mother in Brooklyn who suddenly discovers an ATM machine that gives her free (and unrecorded) cash; what she does with that money changes many lives—including her own.

Mia Saul is down on her luck. She’s been dumped by her husband, fired from her job, and forced to move with her ten-year-old daughter Eden to a crummy apartmen
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 8th 2009 by Gallery Books (first published September 1st 2009)
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Oct 11, 2009 Lori rated it it was amazing
I waited anxiously for this book to show up after reading the synopsis. There have been plenty of books that I was jumping at the bit to read and perhaps because I felt such a build up and had such high expectations, the reality of the book fell short. Not so with Breaking the Bank.

This book works on all levels but the strongest parts of it are author Yona Zeldis McDonough's crisp, honest and witty writing and the character of Mia. Despite the unlikelihood and "magic" of an ATM giving out free m
Dec 14, 2009 Marie rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Mia Saul is down on her luck. Her husband has left her, she's a single mom of a demanding 10-year-old picky eater, and she doesn't have a permanent job. One day she spends the last of her cash on a bag of gourmet groceries to try to get her daughter Eden to eat, and she leaves it on the sidewalk outside Eden's school. She goes to the ATM to get more money...and the ATM spits out ten times the amount she had requested. It's a magic ATM!

This book meandered quite a bit, and it seemed like the autho
Carla Ford
Oct 29, 2009 Carla Ford rated it it was amazing
This is a feel good story, something nice happening to a nice person. Mia Saul is having a really rough time. Her rat of a husband left her for another woman, and has become a sporadic father to the their ten year old daughter, Eden. She lost the job that she loved, and is trying to support herself and her daughter working temp jobs because she can't count on her ex-husband for child support. Her daughter is having a hard time coping with the divorce, and Mia has her hands full. She is a good mo ...more
May 06, 2010 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fabulous read! This is a modern day fairy tale. A Mom who is having a hard time making ends meet but still gives to the poor when she passes them on the street. She finds her bank machine is giving her more money than she has asked for more than once. Of course she has a hard time deciding what to do when the machine at the bank gives her more money than she has asked for, does she spend it, will the bank find out, ..... You have to read the book to find out how she handles things!

Feb 14, 2011 Sierra rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 05, 2009 Gaby rated it really liked it

Mia Saul lives with her ten-year-old daughter Eden in a fourth floor rental in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It's a neighborhood that they love with Prospect Park, the green market, the public library, playground, stores and eateries. Ever since her ex-husband Lloyd left, things have been difficult and it's all Mia can do to keep her head above water. Her beloved Eden has gone beyond vegetarian: the list of things that she refuses to eat grows larger every day. Plus, Eden has been getting into
Jan 11, 2010 Kimm rated it liked it
Breaking the Bank is an interesting story of a single mom’s struggles to find her place in the world after divorce. The story followed along pretty smoothly, although I’m curious as to the introduction of a couple of characters (namely Patrick and his sister) and their purpose in the plot. Probably could have done well enough without them and worked Mia’s best friend in a bit more. We all know, in tough times, it’s more often that you lean more on your best gal friend that find yourself randomly ...more
Laura de Leon
Sep 30, 2009 Laura de Leon rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, review-copy
Overall, I liked this book, and there were a number of positive things contributing to this. Unfortunately, there were some down sides as well.

I loved the twist of the book-- an ATM that spits out extra money where it is needed, with the admonition to "Use it well". This was the heart of the book, and it was handled in an interesting and thought-provoking way.

Through the first half of the book, I liked the character of Mia. As the end approached, and she made more and more choices I didn't like,
Sep 29, 2009 Andrea rated it really liked it
I'm not really sure what I think about this book. On the one hand, I liked that Mia was gracious enough to always make sure to give some of the money she magically got away to people who needed it. On the other hand, it seemed so far-fetched that I was sure she was going to wake up and it was all a dream. And I'm not sure that I liked the ending just seemed sort of weird and not right for me. And I didn't get her whole fascination with the Patrick character.

I did however like how th
May 01, 2010 Yolanda rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: 1
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 09, 2011 Beth rated it liked it
What a refreshing story idea! I thought that once Mia had found this machine, all her problems would disappear. I was surprised by each new twist and enjoyed the unexpected situations that arose throughout the book. I was unsure of Patrick X. Fitzpatrick and his role in the story, as well as Fred's mother Bev. After finishing the book and contemplating their presence I accepted tham as characters who added the element of magic to the story. I devloped a love/hate relationship with many of the ch ...more
Dec 07, 2009 Laura rated it it was ok
When Mia, a divorced, down-on-her-luck-now-single mom, starts receiving strange messages and “free” money from her local ATM, life takes some dramatic and entertaining turns. Suddenly able to afford the basics -- and beyond, Mia doesn’t go absolutely crazy, but starts to enjoy the thrill of spreading her good luck around. The windfall gives her a different perspective on her ex, the dependable bartender who’s had a crush on her, as well as the mysterious but irresistible guy she meets in jail. J ...more
May 14, 2010 Colleen rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
I really wanted to like this book, and the characters within it, but I just couldn't find it in myself. I wanted to like the magic of an ATM dispensing free money, but I found the actions of the recipient so irritating as the novel continued that I wasn't able to simply sink into the narrative. She made so many bad choices, and was just so generally wishy-washy that I found myself reading just to finish rather than to enjoy. Though it started our strong and had an interesting premise, this is de ...more
May 01, 2012 Aimee rated it it was ok
This book was annoying. The whole premise is ridiculous, but most annoying was the main character Mia. Self described as "impulsive, emotion-driven, spontaneous", she's actually immature, selfish & mis-guided. I cheered for her family when they tried to set her straight. Her relationship with her daughter is the only decent relationship in the book and even that is extremely flawed. Mia is awful to her "best friend", boyfriend, brother, siser-in-law & mother. No wonder her life is fallin ...more
Christina Vourcos
It was interesting how much a magical ATM could change Mia's life. Though I'm not a mother her story is still relatable. Mia is in a difficult time in her life, and the money causes a few more difficulties. Overall the money causes her to change in a good way. I liked the end but there was a feeling of open-ending that I kind of wish there wasn't. Though the open-ending felt more real because it's like life, you don't really know what will happen in the future.
Talli Sharron
Dec 07, 2011 Talli Sharron rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 26, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it
Imagine going to the cash machine and getting 10 times the money you asked for and not have it deducted from your account. That’s what happened to the heroine in this book who is a single mom, living in a rough NY neighborhood, getting only sporadic child support and eking out a living with temp jobs. It’s a page turner.
Tim Owens
Mar 07, 2016 Tim Owens rated it really liked it
Yona McDonough book Breaking the Bank is a fanciful story about an almost defeated single mom who comes across an ATM that starts handing her money that she doesn 19t have. How she uses the money and alters her life is the essence of the story. The ending is rather strange, but then remember the story is a fantasy. This is a very entertaining read.
Oct 05, 2009 Julia rated it it was ok
The whole concept was very original and unique but the story... it was bland and boring. There were some random parts that I felt were just added for pure shock factor, they had almost nothing to do with the overall story line. The characters were under developed and honestly the whole book just wasn't as good as it could have been.
Aug 17, 2010 Katie rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
magical atm (wtf?)
super obnoxious, unlikable protagonist
annoying overuse of commas & hyphens
unrealistic cast of side characters
way too perfect ending
a pretty awful book

Skip this one.
Fredrick Ndori
Oct 10, 2013 Fredrick Ndori rated it really liked it
Its interesting, I like the way thye whole story flows. But the end is a bit disappointing, not the kind you would expect. At the last part where all the people had gathered around the machine, it should have jammed!! Or even refused to work and add on to the plot. All the same.... not bad.
Jun 19, 2010 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: june-10
I picked up this book because it had an interesting premise--the ATM gives Mia thousands of dollars each time she withdraws $100 and the message Use It Well. Of course it turns her life around and not always for the good. I like it and of course would love to find a magic machine like that!
Aug 22, 2011 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
A cute story. Nothing to write home about but enjoyable nonetheless.
Dec 11, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jordan
Shelves: books-i-own
This was the first time I had read a book by this author. I really enjoyed the story, it was something different for me. I'll probably be checking out other books by this author.
Oct 06, 2009 Andrea rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
Jun 13, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it
I bought my book off the discount rack at the bookstore. It's an enjoyable and interesting read.
Aug 05, 2012 Susie rated it it was ok
The picture on the the exact same person on the cover of Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein.......
So far it's alright, it's slow going for me. I read a few pages at a time and it's ok but it's not grabbing my attention.

I decided not to even finish this one.
Nancy Day
Jun 26, 2015 Nancy Day rated it really liked it
Interesting story! Enjoyable read!
Aug 13, 2012 Bethany rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book, it was a fun read and great to imagine it happening to yourself. What would you do if you had a magic ATM that gave you thousands of dollars?
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I live in Park Slope, Brooklyn and many of my novels take place here. But my new novel takes place in New Hampshire, and I have woven into it a historical component: the tragic story of Ruth Blay, who in 1768 was the last woman hanged in the state. When I read about Ruth, I was fascinated and horrified in equal measure, and I knew I had to write about her.
I was educated at Vassar College and Col
More about Yona Zeldis McDonough...

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