Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Cardturner: by Louis Sachar



From Louis Sachar, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Newbery Medal for HOLES, comes the young adult novel THE CARDTURNER, an exploration of the human condition.

How are we supposed to be partners? He can’t see the cards and I don’t know the rules!

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 longtime 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.


Try describing bridge to the average teenager.

Ok now try to describe it to them without having their eyes glaze over.

Louis Sachar has attempted the impossible in his newest book, The Cardturner, as he tries to create an interesting book about bridge for young adults.

And I have to say I’m pretty sure he’s done it.

The Cardturner is a fascinating novel about Alton Richards, an ordinary teen with a rich great uncle, Lester Trapp, who’s dying. Alton is sent to be a cardturner for his blind uncle who loves to play bridge. The story quickly turns into more than a simple recounting of the game of bridge into an intense and mysterious parallel between the lives of present day Alton and the past of Lester Trapp. The story then follows Alton as he learns about the game, begins to love and respect his uncle, and meets the odd and intriguing Toni Castaneda. The mystery ultimately unfolds throughout the story in a way only Louis Sachar could pull off, leaving the reader with an intense and exhilarating ending.

I really liked The Cardtuner and even am a little interested in bridge now after reading it. The book was filled with likeable, relatable characters and just enough action in the bridge tournaments (yes there’s action in bridge tournaments) to keep the reader captivated.

Fans of Holes shouldn’t worry though, while the story is set up in a similar fashion to Sachar’s other works, there are key differences in plot that allows for surprising and exciting twists that readers will not have been expecting.

All in all this was a very fun read that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys young adult books. I don’t think the subject matter is a hindrance, and in fact feel like it helps make this novel a truly original story, and something worth reading. In fact, I liked The Cardturner so much I’m considering joining my local bridge network, demonstrating just how interesting Sachar has made this book and the game of bridge.


8.5 out of 10


Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Published: May 11, 2010

Price: $17.99

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