Jason Kurtz's Reviews > All-in

All-in by Pete Hautman
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's review
Dec 10, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult
Read in May, 2006

When I bought "All-In" at the Minnesota Council for the Teachers of English conference, it was from Hautman himself. He screwed up his face in thought, handed it to me and said, “This is the first copy ever sold!”

I knew it was about gambling, and Texas Hold-em, and that is about all I knew. I was heading to Las Vegas in a few weeks, and thought it would be fun to read a book about a high stakes gambler. When I got back from Las Vegas, I couldn’t stop thinking about the book, and Hautman’s writing style in general. The gambling reality in the book was perfect. I competed in a small hold-em tournament in Las Vegas, and took third place.

The break-neck pacing in Hautman’s novel gave me a similar rush to the reality of the poker table. It was also about a somewhat controversial subject─gambling─for which there were no apologies. But why was I so enamored with All-In? I determined that I felt that Hautman had the casino reality exact because it was plotted perfectly as well.

Hautman’s books are short, and finely tuned page turners. Elmore Leonard is famous for claiming that his books are mostly dialogue and plot, and he leaves out the stuff that people skip over anyway. Hautman plots for teens like Leonard plots for adults, and that is a road to success.

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