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3.83  ·  Rating details ·  195 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Theo, our scruffy, big-hearted and quick-witted heroine, is not so much down on her luck as delivered luckless into a culture where the winners and losers have already been decided. Her adventures in getting over take her from SF to NYC, from dyke bars to telemarketing outfits, casinos to free clinics. With the signature poet's voice that has won her awards and acclaim, Li ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 1st 2013 by City Lights Publishers (first published March 15th 2013)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  195 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
"It was 1994, the year of bad, low-blood-sugar decisions. As soon as Theo was done watching her favorite episode of Top 25 Best 911 Emergencies she planned to leave her empty San Francisco apartment and move to New York."

I'm not going to say much about Cha-Ching! other than I really like Liebegott's main characters - they are flawed but good at heart - and even though their stories are quite depressing and deal with difficult issues like addiction, anxiety, and the role of being an outsider, the
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia
I think I understand why some readers flat out hate this book--it makes you so uncomfortable, and it offers no hope. Oddly enough, I really enjoyed it because Liebegott is such a good storyteller. It hardly matters if the story itself is disturbing and difficult to digest. It begins with Theo, who seems convinced that moving from San Francisco to New York will give her a fresh outlook and incentive to give up her addictions (alcohol, cigarettes, gambling). Along the way, she meets Marisol, a lib ...more
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished-2013
This is a pretty great, pretty brutal, downbeat queer romance. The protagonist is a gambling addict and the casino scenes are scary as shit - no joke it was like I was watching a horror movie with my fingers half over my eyes, Theo risking so much money. The other scene I found super scary recently was in the new Farguar movie About Elly, where Elly is running down the beach in close-up looking really happy, and you know something terrible must be happening. Who needs horror movies when you can ...more
Tom Léger
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a great book! I'm not done yet but gee, I really wish I had more books like this one. Theo is a charming, if charmingly flawed, protagonist who I want to see succeed, and also have a beer with. ...more
Amy D.P.
May 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love Ali Liebegott's writing so much that I want to gay marry it, that's saying something since I don't even like the idea of marriage. What I do love is Liebegott's character development and awesome story telling abilities. I need more Liebegott right now! ...more
Joel Nichols
Dec 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of the saddest novels I've ever read but also unassumingly beautiful. Sort of like Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe in the way your heart breaks for how much love and feeling the characters have. ...more
Cornelia Karlslund
Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is about a gay, alcoholic gambler in the 90s who decides that moving to a new city will definitely change her personality and also make her suddenly not poor and miserable. She also has a pitbull with a long history of abuse. I do think the dog has more going for her than the main character - I mean, at least she's a dog.

I quit two thirds into this book. As I read it, I felt a strange mix of incredibly successful (because the main character fails at everything) and really, REALLY depre
Aug 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt
Theo moves from San Francisco to New York, gambling that she will find a better life there. Unfortunately she moves to the wrong part of New York, where she finds none of her people. In fact, most of Theo's life is a gamble, including drinking too much and losing too much money. She hooks up with women on a whim and tends to trust her gut when make a decision, not always a wise move. But she is a likable butch and the reader enters her world easily. ...more
Sep 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting writing on the culture of poverty, gambling, alcoholism, depression, and drug abuse. But, be prepared to be depressed while reading.
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
It’s a thin kind of love, but you have to start somewhere.

Ali Liebegott’s style is one that pushes out from the dull edges of just making it through the day, to see the surroundings as part of what closes you into yourself for security. But to be alive takes more. And so the road trip begins.
Theo packs a light physical but a sharp awareness of what she no longer wants. Pushing off from that certainty she already knows what she can fall back on, but decides she doesn’t want to fall anymore. She w
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I got this book free through Goodreads First Reads.

This isn't the normal kind of book I read, so I'm not even sure how I'm going to review. I'm going to do the best I can though. Theo has had it with California and wants to go to New York and start a brand new life there, which she is hoping will be better than her life in San Francisco. Once in New York, she has many adventures.

What I liked the most about this book was the characters. They were all very unique and seemed like the people who y
Apr 11, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this book because I really enjoyed the author's other book, The Ihop Papers, but I didn't really like Cha-Ching! that much. It was too depressing. The Ihop Papers was funny, the main character had spunk, but in Cha-Ching, the narrator was too addicted and too much in denial to even fight her addiction to alcohol and gambling. I wanted to root for her that she would not loose the money she won, or that she would not feel ashamed to admit that she wasn't drinking when people offered her alc ...more
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you've ever been close to someone who struggles with addiction issues and frustrated at their lack of impulse control, this book is a fascinating glimpse into what goes on in the addict's mind as it follows young queers in New York trying to move on from the tumult of the "shit years" of the early twenties into something with a bit more stability.

Theo, our sirma'amsir protagonist, and her love interest Marisol (a freshly unemployed Brooklyn librarian) both struggle with alcohol addiction, an
Ali Liebegott’s ruefully hilarious, downwardly-mobile lesbian protagonists are confused and damaged and struggling against difficult circumstances, none more so than their own darkest impulses, compulsions, and obsessions. But they never stop trying, which makes you root even more passionately for them to beat the odds. As ruthlessly, page-turningly entertaining as The IHOP Papers, Cha-Ching has confirmed me as an Ali Liebegott fan for life. Unfortunately for me, though, not much left unread in ...more
Elizabeth Earley
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was witty and funny and depressing and disturbing — one of my favorite combinations. Ali Liebegott writes with total authority and sustained insight about addiction and the lifestyle that attends it. The insight is subtle, she doesn't hand anything to you. But it's all there in the detailed picture that she paints: a slice of Theo's (the protagonist) life accompanied by Carey Grant, her rescue dog. The dog quickly becomes the ballast holding up Theo's precarious world. The ending is re ...more
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading Cha-Ching! I got it in San Francisco and started reading it the same night. Putting it away to do homework was actually a mini version of torture. I really finished about a week ago, but I haven't had time to review. This book made me laugh! I love books that can make me laugh. It was very well-written. The only thing that I found confusing (not confusing enough to give less than 5 stars) is the change in POV towards the end. The entire book is written from Theo's POV, but one of ...more
Dec 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
When I was about a third through I seriously considered not continuing. It just didn't interest me at all. I did finish it after all. I just can't not finish a book. But I kept waiting for the plot to happen. This either geniusly describes the very bland life of an alcoholic, depressive gambler (which is still a boring read) or the author is a bad writer who only got this published because it's one of too few LGBTIQ themed books. I'd probably have to read her award winning ones in order to judge ...more
Apr 30, 2013 rated it liked it
I definitely enjoyed the beautifully worthless a lot more and I think this book would've benefited from the use of first person. The story and style were pretty tangled... We start getting Marisols point of view out of nowhere and it's completely unbalanced with theos. There were a lot of loose ends that I assumed were leading somewhere but ultimately didn't. All in all this felt like a good start to a book rather than a finished product. ...more
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's 1994 and Theo leaves San Francisco to start a new life in New York. She's an alcoholic. She rescues a dog. She drives to New York with a pit stop along the way to gamble. Despite her lack of planning she gets a job, finds a place to live, and builds a community for herself. She gambles a lot and struggles with her drinking. She falls in love.

Mostly depressing. Yet somehow redemptive.

Excellent prose, world building, and character development.

Aug 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2014, book-club
This book read like an indie film. Things happened and nothing really happened at the same time. There is a young woman, who wants to overcome her addictions (to gambling and alcohol), but doesn't seem to really know how to go about it. She moves across the country and falls in love. There is an adorable dog. There are a lot of extremely uncomfortable scenes in casinos. And then the book is over and you're left feeling hopeful, but also worried, about Theo and Cary Grant.

Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I wish goodreads let you give six stars, 'cause this is a six star book! It's just brimming with wit and passion and damned good writing with lots of snappy dialogue and beautifully delineated characters. It also gets points for depicting the world drifting, marginal queer youth, a place where literature all too often fears or fails to tread. ...more
City Lights Booksellers & Publishers
"Cha-Ching! is a rush - the clatter of youth on the angry move, the rattling of dreamy gambles in crappy apartments, the desperate crash of falling for someone despite the million reasons why and the bang! bang! bang! of our tender hearts."—Daniel Handler, author of Why We Broke Up ...more
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
i love ali liebegott's books. this one was- as all her's are- funny and heart breaking and sometimes really hard to read. deals with addiction in a way i've not seen in many books: human, difficult, not damning. ...more
Apr 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I wanted to like it, it felt well-meaning, and I did like aspects- but there were also cliches and the plot felt clumsy, especially in the second half. Best thing- I mostly liked Theo, the main character, and how the reader is witness to her struggles with alcoholism and a compulsion to gamble.
Chelsea Starr
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
her best book yet! i loved it. i loved the characters. theo and marisol, and theo's roommate. the dog was sweet. i loved the glimpse inside the gambler's mind. and i loved the love story, sweet to see two people hitting rock bottom and bouncing back together, in love. ...more
Daniel Levesque
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Incredible. Ali Liebegott has really gone and done it. The writing is heart wrenching and beautiful, unflinching and right on the money. CHA CHING!
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
It came out of nowhere- picked up in the library new fiction area- and I thought it was like nothing else I have read, simple and great.
Kate B.
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
i likeed it but it could have been a short story, it was a little long.
Aug 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Unusual portrayal of a 30 year old woman trying to get her life on track. What makes the book both good and disappointing is how unusual the story is.
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read this year. ...more
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Ali Liebegott is a lesbian American author whose work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Her first book, The Beautifully Worthless, won the Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction. Liebegott is a recipient of a Poetry Fellowship from the New York Foundation for Arts. She taught creative writing at UC San Diego and currently lives in San Francisco.Her debut novel entitled The IHOP P ...more

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“You can’t believe what I’ve seen today. It’s like an apocalyptic novel. Prisoners handcuffed to seats.”

Marisol’s hand in her own and her presence in the waiting room melted away the post-drug despair.

“Everyone needs someone to walk through this despicable world with,” Theo said to Marisol in the elevator, like a wedding proposal.”
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