madison lloyd, May 24, 2011 (view all comments by madison lloyd)
The Cardturner (or, 'Pageturner', as it might more appropriately be called!) is a fresh and intriguing book starring a young adult cast, but appealing to readers of many ages. entertainingly recounted through the voice of an incredibly likable main character, the story twists and turns, centered on the relationship between a high school senior and his bridge loving uncle. the short, entertaining chapters (along with a touch of romance later on!!) keep the story alive and moving and quite a ride to the very end!! this author of holes knows how to tell intriguing stories like no other!
David Tomashek, January 3, 2011 (view all comments by David Tomashek)
Yet another fabulous young adult book by Louis Sachar, where the young heroes find themselves and each other while becoming involved in a story that started generations past. Plus, you get to learn the ins and outs of contract bridge.
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Suthie, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Suthie)
You would not think "playing Bridge" would be the perfect premise for a love story, but Sachar takes a risk using this fading-in-popularity card game as the backdrop for an engaging tale about a crotechety, blind uncle who employs his 17-year-old nephew as his cardturner.
Alton doesn’t know much about Lester, just stories he’s heard through the years about how grumpy and selfish the old man is, and how he had a tragic past. But the longer he works for Lester and learns more about his dry wit, his genius ability to play bridge, and the true story about his past, the more Alton begins to figure out a path for his own life.
The Cardturner by Louis Sachar offers young adults more of what they may have loved in Holes with lessons on bridge built in. While the bridge technicalities may sound boring (and it definitely can be) Sachar offers his readers respite by indicating which passages are full of bridge jargon. Readers can skip those sections without losing any of the beauty of the story.
And this is one beautiful story. Alton is drifting aimlessly at the beginning of the book. He’s lost his girlfriend to his best friend and has no idea what he wants to do with his life after high school. The lessons Alton learns from his uncle, and as he learns to play bridge himself, also make for good conversation in mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 14 and up: how do you define success in yourself and others, how can you stand up for yourself and the things you want even if means going against someone you care about, and what makes a good partner, in cards and in life.
The chapters are short, which makes it easy to keep turning pages. Both Alton and Uncle Lester have compelling voices and the ability to make simple statements that carry a lot of meaning. The bridge descriptions may get tedious, or they may inspire you to learn more about this game of strategy. Either way, there’s a lot to love in this gem of a book. I highly recommend it.
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers -
"Review A Day"
"Louis Sachar's The Cardturner is a novel about playing bridge. WAKE UP! You couldn't have fallen asleep that fast, faker.
It's true, bridge isn't as fast, enticing, or sexy as poker — or even cribbage. And I will admit that, having read all 336 pages of the book, I still can't tell you how to play bridge. It's a testament to Sachar's storytelling gifts that understanding the game isn't required to enjoy the book, and that he somehow manages to make bridge (as confusing as it remains to me) interesting." Chris Bolton, Powells.com(read the entire Powells.com review)
by Booklist (starred review),
"[I]t is astonishing how Sachar can make blow-by-blow accounts of bridge not only interesting but exciting....An obvious windfall for smart and puzzle-minded teens, this is a great story to boot, with genuine characters...and real relationships, balanced by casual, confident storytelling."
by Kirkus Reviews (starred review),
"Readers need not be card sharks to appreciate this unusual story; in fact, they will soon realize they've been dealt more than cards in this narrative of how big ideas and unforgettable characters affect Alton as he learns to take charge of his life and play his own hand. Intelligent readers will love this work — it's in the cards."
by The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books,
"Readers who like puzzles and those who appreciate all kinds of skilled gameplay will be drawn to this intricate, charmingly benign, yet cutthroat world."
by School Library Journal,
"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."
From the bestselling author of Holes. As the summer after junior year begins, Alton Richards finds himself becoming intrigued by his great-uncle Lester, by the game of bridge, and especially by a pretty and shy girl. Alton soon struggles to figure out what it all means, and ultimately to figure out the meaning of his own life.
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