A middle grade novel by Kate Egan, Golden Ticket, explores friendship, academic anxiety, and what it means to be special.
“It’s practically like a private school,” Mrs. Silver said bitterly. “The best teacher, for such a tiny group of students. Who wouldn’t succeed in a class like that?” She took off her sunglasses to glare at the dad. “Those kids get picked out when they’re seven years old, and they get handed a golden ticket. Of course they become stars.”
Eleven-year-old Ash McNulty is one of the “gifted and talented” kids at her school, spending most of her day in a special class with a few other advanced students. As the end of fifth grade rolls around, she should be on top of the world. According to everyone, she’s going to rock junior high!
But Ash has a secret: She can’t keep up with her advanced classmates anymore. The minute she asks for help though, everyone will know she’s not who they think she is. She’s not so smart. She might not even be that special. And her parents will be crushed to discover the truth.
If Ash can win the Quiz Bowl, though, that will show everyone that she is still on top. If she gets a lucky break ahead of time, all the better.
Except that “lucky break” backfires . . .
And Ash is left to question everything she thought she knew about school, friends, and success.
"With great heart, and in smooth, fresh prose that is a pleasure to read, “Golden Ticket” offers young readers a hopeful way of looking at failure and mistakes.... " —The New York Times
"Through realistically flawed characters and engaging third-person prose, Egan (the Magic Shop series) explores resource allocation, internal and external definitions of success, and what it means to be “gifted.” — Publishers Weekly
"Egan creates a high degree of tension in the early chapters, mirroring the conflict within Ash, a good kid who makes some bad decisions and has to live with the consequences, but just as involving is her later exploration of who she is, where she fits in, and what she really wants. . . engaging" —Booklist
"A sensitively drawn tale of a young girl’s struggle with redemption and self-identity. Vivid characters and crisp writing make this a poignant and accessible read. Golden Ticket contains a timely and powerful message for young readers about the importance of finding—and claiming—your unique place in the world."
—Ellen Potter, award-winning author of Slob