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The Cardturner

A Novel About Imperfect Partners and Infinite Possibilities
192p. 978-0-38590-619-7.
COPY ISBN
Gr 8-Up Alton Richards is resigned to spending a slow summer on his own after his girlfriend leaves him for his best friend and he finds himself with no money and no job. Unfortunately, his mother insists that he become his blind great-uncle's chauffeur and cardturner at local bridge tournaments. Though the 17-year-old has only met Lester Trapp on a few occasions, his mother hopes that this connection will inspire the wealthy old man to write the family into his will. Alton reluctantly agrees, even though he knows nothing about bridge and has no interest in learning the game. He meets Toni Castaneda at the tournaments and soon discovers that he's not the only long-lost relative intent on winning over Trapp and his inheritance. What transpires is an intriguing glimpse into a crazy family full of secrets and unusual quirks. The characters are well limned, and the narrative is laced with Sachar's trademark wry humor. Most teens have very little knowledge about bridge, a fact that Alton acknowledges several times throughout the novel. At times, the story line becomes thick with technical game descriptions, though he does offer an option to skip these sections by providing a symbol to indicate more in-depth card instructions. This well-written novel contains a rewarding intergenerational friendship and a sweetly appealing romance in the making. Nonetheless it may require an additional nudge to hook readers. It's a nudge worth giving for motivated teens and those who enjoy Sachar's novels."Stephanie Malosh, Donoghue Elementary School, Chicago, IL" Copyright 2010 Media Source Inc.
Alton serves as his reputedly rich great-uncle Lester Trapp's "cardturner," telling Trapp what cards he has so the old man can make the right plays. Like bridge itself, the story is filled with secrets and bluffs, tricks and dummies in addition to intriguingly complicated kinship lines. Alton, an engagingly self-deprecating storyteller, does a good job of conveying the game's appeal.

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