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Breaking the Bank - Yona Zeldis McDonough (2009)

Mia Saul is down on her luck. Her husband, Lloyd, left her for a woman who worked at a local nail salon, leaving Mia to raise their daughter, Eden, by herself in a Brooklyn apartment with crazy neighbours. Mia can barely even afford to pay their rent each month, working a variety of temp jobs just to stay afloat. If only she had enough money to get herself off the ground and to get Eden the things she needs and wants. Standing at an ATM one day, Mia's luck suddenly changes. Instead of giving her the correct change, the ATM gives her an extra $100. Mia is worried that eventually the bank will catch the error and ask for the money back, but in the meantime, she needs the money so she decides to use it. Returning to the same machine later, it again gives her extra money - this time she asks for $100 and gets $1000. Mia's luck gets even better when the machine gives her a very rare $10,000 bill, with a note saying to use the money wisely. Before long, Mia is taking Eden on trips to Barneys, allowing her to form a new relationship with her sometimes rebellious daughter. Eventually, people start to worry about Mia and her new-found cash flow. First her family, then the police, want to know where all this extra money is coming from. Yona McDonough creates a wonderful fantasy novel that, though sometimes gritty, shows a heartfelt and downtrodden character all rolled into one. The money gives Mia hope for her future and her daughter's, showing what a difference small monetary changes can make in a person's life. (AS)

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