Twelve-year-old Bully has lost his mum and his old life. Living rough on the streets of London with his dog, Jack, he can’t imagine a future. But one day he finds, tucked inside his most cherished possession—the last birthday card his mother ever gave him—a lottery ticket he bought her. And it’s a winner. A big winner. Suddenly there’s hope, if only he can get to his prize on time! But just as Bully’s prospects open up, peril closes in. Now ruthless gangsters are in hot pursuit, and everyone wants a piece of him. Whom can he trust to help him retrieve what's his? And even if Bully does claim all that money, will he really be winning what he needs most? Michael Byrne's thrill-packed debut delivers the emotionally charged story of a boy whose luck has changed for the better, if only he can survive long enough to claim it.
In this adrenaline-charged page-turner, 12-year-old Bully, a homeless runaway in London, discovers a winning lottery ticket tucked into a cherished possession, his last birthday card from his deceased mother. With only five days to collect his prize before the claim expires, Bully needs to find an adult he can trust, because he's too young to play the lottery. Told primarily from Bully's viewpoint, the story reveals the world Bully sees, full of "zombies" adults with "that getting-away look that zombies gave you... if you started trying to talk to them too much like they were human beings" and menace, exemplified by a man named Janks, who breeds and tortures pit bulls, runs dog fights, "taxes" the homeless, and comes after Bully when he learns of the ticket. Relying on his well-trained dog, military tactics learned from his stepfather, and his own courage and ingenuity, Bully desperately tries to evade Janks's army of street soldiers, with ever-worsening odds. Occasional kindnesses and acts of genuine compassion soften the impact of the neglect, cruelty, and betrayal Bully negotiates in this gut-wrenching, gripping debut. Ages 12 up.