01 May / The Cardturner: A Novel About a King, a Queen, and a Joker by Louis Sachar
Leave it to master storyteller Louis Sachar (National Book Award and Newbery Medalist for his phenomenally successful Holes) to make bridge (yes, bridge! – as in the card game!) heart-thumping fun! Listening to Sachar himself read the audible version is definitely an added bonus, not to mention you get to hear the whole Moby Dick whale horn if you choose the iPod route, but I’m getting ahead of myself …
Alton Richards is about to start summer vacation without any plans. His girlfriend dumped him for his best friend, he’s still mourning his loss, and he’s been too unmotivated to find a summer job. Just in time, his mother gets a phone call that will change his life in all the right ways, even if initially for all the wrong reasons.
The family’s “favorite uncle,” Lester Trapp, is fabulously wealthy. His net worth seems to about equal to his acerbic distaste for his fawning family, not to mention humanity in general. Now blind due to complications from diabetes, elderly Uncle Lester (Great-Uncle to Alton, if you want to be exact) needs a ride to his regular bridge games; Alton’s mother is only too thrilled to throw her son at his “favorite uncle.” Once at the bridge club, Alton will need to be his blind uncle’s silent cardturner.
Alton soon discovers that Uncle Lester is not only good at bridge, he’s one of the best players ever. Alton also learns who his “favorite uncle” really is … not to mention he really does become his favorite uncle. As each hand is played, one card revealed at a time, Alton not only masters the game, he also has some spectacular revelations about life (and death) along the way.
And that whale horn? Sachar gives you the choice of skipping over the complicated details of various bridge strategies. Ignore the temptation to hurry through in order to find out what happens next … the story is in the details, after all!
With an engrossing cast of characters – from Alton’s wiser-than-her-age-11-year-old sister Leslie, Uncle Lester’s live-in New Age nurse, his longtime bridge playing buddies – you’ll soon discover that Cardturner is an absolute page-turner … and you won’t believe what Sachar has up his sleeve …
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult