Monday, April 18, 2011

The Cardturner

The Cardturner
By Louis Sachar

Summary: The summer after junior year of high school looks bleak for Alton Richards. His girlfriend has dumped him to hook up with his best friend. He has no money and no job. His parents insist that he drive his great uncle Lester to his bridge club four times a week and be his cardturner – whatever that means. Alton's uncle is old, blind, very sick, and very rich. But Alton's parents aren't the only ones trying to worm their way into Lester Trapp's good graces. They're in competition with his long time housekeeper, his alluring young nurse, and the crazy Castaneda family, who seem to have a mysterious influence over him. Alton soon finds himself intrigued by his uncle, by the game of bridge, and especially by the pretty and shy Toni Castaneda. As the summer goes on, he struggles to figure out what it all means, and ultimately to figure out the meaning of his own life. (Amazon)

Review: The Cardturner is a complete surprise. While one might think that reading a book about a complex card game would be boring or too confusing, you couldn’t be more wrong. Alton is charming and endearing and both male and female readers will be drawn to his awkward sincerity. The other characters are hilarious with all the quirkiness and fun expected from a Sachar novel. The story is compelling and readers will no doubt be drawn into the mystery surrounding Uncle Lester, the bridge tournament and the relationship between Alton and Toni. It is so easy to fall into the story of this novel that readers will forget they are actually learning about bridge. You quickly start to understand the language and the hands, even if you’ve never played before. Somehow Sachar brilliantly interweaves a compelling story about a regular boy trying to find his place alongside rules to bridge. An absolutely necessary read.

Also by Louis Sachar: The Wayside School series, Holes and Small Steps

If you liked The Cardturner, you might also enjoy: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, Lemonade Mouth by Mark Hughes, Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork

Non-Fiction Connection: How to Play a Bridge Hand by William S Root

Author website:

Writing: 4/4
Characters: 4/4
Plot: 4/4
Originality: 4/4
Popularity: 3 (or at least it should be)
Cover: 1.5/4
Grade Level Interest: JS


Katie said...

I couldn't get myself to actually want to read The Cardturner until it received an abundance of positive hype through School Library Journal's Battle of the Kids Books. I think your review just pushed me over the edge :) So many Cardturner lovers just can't be wrong! Thanks for a great review.

Anonymous said...

hi new follower here
i cant wait to read this

We Heart YA said...

I'm with you: THE CARDTURNER was such a pleasant surprise! It's one I think I would like to reread someday. It also made me want to play euchre more, hehe. (I know they play bridge, but I think that was a bit TOO hardcore for me. Euchre is easier!)

I see you liked THE DUFF, too. Clearly you have good taste. ;)

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