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Nothing to Lose

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,351 Ratings  ·  129 Reviews
" I shouldn't have come back to Miami. . . . I've been escaping cops' notice for a year now -- since I ran away. I'm no longer Michael Daye, high school athlete with a promising future. Now I look like someone with no future. I look like a carny. "

A year ago Michael's life seemed pretty good, at least from the outside. But with a new stepfather in the picture, his world wa
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 30th 2004 by Harper Teen
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Mar 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the fourth or fifth book I've read from Alex Flinn, and although it was one of her first novels published way back in 2005, I still loved it just as much as some of her more recent novels. In "Nothing to Lose" Michael Daye's mother is being prosecuted for killing her abusive husband, who is also Michael's stepfather. The book alternates chapters to retell the events that Michael experienced under Walker's (the stepfathers) roof and explain what Michael is currently experiencing; ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Alex Flinn's contemporary YA novels. While Beastly is one of my favorite books ever, I'm not as big a fan of Ms. Flinn's other paranormal/fantasy YA. This early dark stuff? Amazing. Just like with Breathing Underwater, Nothing to Lose tackles some heavy issues (in this case, spousal abuse leading to the stepdad's death and the stepson running away -- this isn't a spoiler, it's the basis of the book). I enjoyed the characters, and I really appreciated the resolution. Definitely worth a rea ...more
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, to-buy
"She was the one who started me on the road I'm on now. If I can find her, maybe she'll help me figure out where I'm going."

Michael had a decent life. Sure, it had its ups and downs but he always knew he would get through it. He was a great football player and had a group of people that cared about him. This all changed when his single mom married Walker. For two years Michael watched as his mother was hit and abused by his stepfather. Feeling too weak to do anything, the vicious cycle of abuse
Caroline Nixon
May 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This is a book about a young boy who's life starting spinning out of control when he step father is abusing his mother and there is nothing that he can do to stop. Then one day, after he quit the football team and left all of his friends, an old friend asked to take him to the fair. When Michael gets tot he fair, what does he find? Trouble? How about love? After meeting someone new at the fair his life seems ot be getting a little better. He spends time with his new "friend" and forgets all abou ...more
Not sure why this was on my shelf, but there it was when I needed a quick read and it wasn't bad. I think young adults will enjoy it; I was pretty certain failry early what the ending would be, and I was right, but maybe a newer reader won't. I thought about giving 2 stars, but since I finished, and quickly, I kicked it up one. I am not sure what book of hers is the best, but if I find out, I might read it.
Nicole (( lost in the book's world ))
I am almost give this book by 5 rate but one little thing that I dislike about this book so I give this book by 4.5 because of Kristie. I am hope that Kristie and Michael will meet up in the end of book but it didn't. ugh... But it is so good book.
Melissa Dwyer
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally rated E by Rosanne Cipollone
Michael Daye has a secret as to who killed his stepfather which could send someone to prison but he is not ready to reveal it yet. This story is well written and holds the reader's attention.
Nicole (( lost in the book's world ))
Goodreads lost my review... -_- I read this book, two times and I wanted to revise my old review but my old review is gone -_0

Michelle Moczulski
It was a dramatic story, with a very ironic ending. I really enjoyed the irony but I'm not sure many people can relate to the story, and I find it enjoyable when you can relate to the characters.
It's easy to read but highly predictable, and the story and narration is not as good as Flinn's Breathing Underwater.
Muna Abdulkader
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Juan Ramirez
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first time I read an Alex flinn novel and I must say that I loved her work! Although, I was quick to assume that she was a man because of her name I loved how I discovered that she was a woman, which goes to show how well she writes because she narrated a 16 year old boy so well. The thing that I loved the most about this book was the creativity of the book structure because the book alternates chapters to retell the events that Michael experienced while living with his mother’s opul ...more
Jan 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alex Flinn did it again. After reading Beastly I got excited when I saw another book by Alex Flinn. Nothing To Lose was a really compelling page turner for me. The Story is set in two different times. Now don't think this is Sci-Fi but its told all in the main character, Micheal Daye's, point of view from One Year ago and the present time.
Michael, like many boys, loves football and his friends but when his attractive mother marries a rich lawyer things for him seem to go down hill, He quits the
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can i say that the style of the book isn't my preferred style of writing because it jumps back and forth from flashbacks to flashpresent in a really consistent manner, and i feel that way the story gets lost, However, the author pulls it off magnificently effectively it is actually one of the strengths of the book, because you get back from the flashback chapter and then to a chapter about the present and its really cliffhanger based that it makes you read the book in one sitting just b
Alexander Rostron
Nothing to Lose is an incredible and suspenseful book, most definitely worth your time. This is a book about Michael Daye, a kid with a stepdad that abuses his mother. The big problem with the scenario is that the stepdad is a well-known and respected lawyer; Michael has reached out to the police and abuse help resources his stepdad always uses his silver tongue to talk his way out of any concern. He then meets this girl from the carnival that is visiting for the week and falls in love. The sto ...more
Jun 11, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
Michael’s life became complicated when his mother married Walker, a big lawyer in Miami. His mother swears she’s sticking to the marriage all for him, but Michael wishes his mother would leave the abusive situation. She claims that Walker will kill them both if she tries to leave, so she continues to live in fear. Michael finds a way of escape through the carnival that comes to town, especially through a girl named Kirsten. She encourages him to run away with them and be a carnie, and Michael is ...more
*Megan* 8-3*
May 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teenagers and mystery lovers
Nothing to Lose
I read “Nothing to Lose” for my April book report. “Nothing to Lose is written by Alex Flinn and it is a mystery book. The main character is Michael Daye/Robert Frost.
The book takes place at two different times so it may be a little confusing. It flips back and forth between last year and this year.
Last Year:
Michael’s mom married Walker, a lawyer, who beats his mother, and Michael only wants to stay away from him. He also wants to be there so his mother doesn’t get beat. He quiet
Ben Leonard
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a nice change from the dystopian, futuristic novels that I've been reading recently. I found the new perspective refreshing, and enjoyed the realistic plot that came along with it.

The narrations from both the past and the present worked wonderfully to help the story flow, and I found both tales equally interesting. Every character was flawed, and very relatable. The gaps in the narrations fill themselves in as the story progresses, and by the end of the book I had a very clear view of M
Kole Morrissey
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From this year to last, transitioning from past to present, Alex Flinn wrote an amazing story about the effects from a violent realationship. Not just the physical scars to Micheal's mom but the mental scars left in Micheal's head. Micheal is a runaway that travels from town to town with the other carnies at the fair. He ends back in the town of all his horrors, his home town, Miami. His mom is in prison for killing the man who had been beateing her. In the present Micheal is trying to get her o ...more
Have to admit, show me a story that involves carnivals or circuses, I'm sold. Good, bad and/or ugly.

This one follows the "run away and join the circus" trope but is more about a teenager trying to deal with an abusive stepfather and his instinctive need to protect his mother even at the cost of himself. The carnival is more of a backdrop but I still enjoyed that aspect.

The story flips back and forth between the past and the present which are only about a year apart. In addition to the above, he
Nov 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
Michael Daye used to be an honor student and a football star. Now, he’s working and living in a travelling carnival, calling himself Robert Frost, and pretending to be nineteen years old. He’s been running and hiding from his past for over a year, but now that the carnival is back in Miami, where he started, he can’t run any more.

Because Michael’s mother is on trial for murder—the murder of her abusive husband, Walker Monroe. Now, Michael needs to face up to his past if he wants to be able to ha
Evan Teters
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alex Flinn's portrayal of Michael Daye and his struggle with his family was definitely refreshing read. The story felt original and seemed to stray from the plot lines of typical teen fiction. The way the chapters alternated between past and present events for Michael continue to unveil new secrets and keep the story interesting. I could really feel Michael's struggle as I continued to read.
Although I really liked the development of the plot and of Michael's character, I felt like Michael was th
Sep 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"'Don't leave.' Her still-sleepy voice was like a little kid's.

'I'm not leaving. I'm just going to pack my things, to say good-bye.'

She was sitting up now. 'Don't. Please don't. If you go, they'll suck you back in. They'll make you stay and...' She fumbled with the sheet now, pulling it around her."

Nothing to Lose is all about good-byes and changes. It focuses on Michael, who has run away from home to join the travelling fair. We learn about Michael's abusive background, along with his love for
Dara Williams
Mar 01, 2010 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a good fiction book
Recommended to Dara by: no one
Nothing To Loose by Alex Flinn is a very good book, and I really enjoyed reading it, unlike many other books that I've read it truly kept me wanting to read more. (I also think that I enjoy reding Alex Flinn books in general because I loved Breathing Underwater.) At first I was a bit confused when reading this novel because the plots go back and forth from when the main character Micheal living with his mother to when he came back. Yet I believe the reason why I liked this novel so much was beca ...more
This was not my favorite Alex Flinn novel. It's just all right. I felt like the character development was missing in this one. Normally Alex Flinn is really good at making you empathize with and understand everyone's side. I didn't really care that much about Michael and, I hate to say it, but I didn't have a lot of sympathy for his mother, either. Walker seemed too bad to be true. I wish she had given him a couple of good qualities because I think that would have helped make this book as multi- ...more
Michael, a sixteen year old boy, joins a carnival group in order to run away from his horrible life at home. He lives the life of any carnival member- mysterious and unknown. His identity is not questioned by any member of the carnival because everyone else has has a past that they wish to hide. Michael sees, on the newspaper, news of a woman who is put on trial for murdering her husband. He realizes that the woman is his mother and decides to return to Miami, Florida, to return to his past, and ...more
Eileen flood
i just started reading nothing to lose by Alex Flinn. I have already read two of her books and enjoyed them alot. In this book Michael bounces back from this year to last year telling memorie of his mom and Walker. This year Walkers mom was convicted of the murder of Walker. No one believes her how Walker was abusive but Michael keeps having multiple flashbacks of Walker beating her. I really am excited to be reading this book because it keeps me on my toes.

Im on page 102 and its getting ve
Jun 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was intresting. We meet Michael who has ran away from home. This mother marries a laywer named Walker, who is abusive and his mother takes it. Michael cannot stand it anymore so he runs away to Miami to be a carni. His mother is devistated but Michael has warned his mother that it would happen if things didnt change. But there is a twist, because Michael's mother is on trial for the murder of Walker. Only Michael knows the truth and he is the only one who can save his mom. Throughout t ...more
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Goodreads Post 1 1 4 Oct 09, 2014 12:08AM  
Mrs. Gallagher's ...: Emily Thompson's Book Review 1 10 Nov 17, 2012 01:03PM  
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NOTE: If you would like to contact me, please visit my Facebook, Twitter, or website or e-mail me (, but DO NOT MESSAGE ME THROUGH GOODREADS. While I have a bio on Goodreads as a service to my readers, I do not visit Goodreads on a regular basis. Like literally twice a year.

Okay, bio.

I was born on Long Island and grew up on a street called Salem Court. This probably influenced m
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