The Cardturner

Hardcover | July 19, 2012

byLouis Sachar

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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. Through Alton's wry observations, Louis Sachar explores the disparity between what you know and what you think you know. With his incomparable flair and inventiveness, he examines the elusive differences between perception and reality -- and inspires readers to think and think again.

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From the Publisher

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, ve...

Louis Sachar is the author of the award winning Small Steps and the New York Times #1 bestseller Holes, as well as Stanley Yelnats' Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake. He is an avid bridge player. His books for younger readers include There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, The Boy Who Lost His Face, Dogs Don't Tell Jokes, and the Marvin ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 8.66 × 5.8 × 1.16 inPublished:July 19, 2012Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385670192

ISBN - 13:9780385670197

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17

Customer Reviews of The Cardturner


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful Book with small minuses. Beautiful book ! Excellent idea to mix an interesting/mysterious story with the love for card game Bridge ! Seems slow at the beginning but develops nicely to the middle of the book. Ending it is little forced but I could not think at a better ending. The main character discovers himself through the experience of learning Bridge and discovering interesting life stories, he transforms himself from a teenager without personality into a teen with strong personality. The role of parents in his life are really diminished, and their personalities are shadowed by their lack of money and the wheel of daily need. This is little too exaggerated and do not fit together with other ideas in the book. I like the recall for the old good songs and good books.
Date published: 2015-03-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth Reading Plainly put, this book is about the card game bridge. Between the actual plot, there are lots of asides where different strategies in bridge are explained, but you can skip them if you like. The book is, I think, written for adults, but the writing did not strike me as very sophisticated, which is why I would recommend it for a younger audience (14-18). Yet, I still give it four stars because it was still enjoyable, educational, and sentimental. It had a very happy, satisfying ending, and I was actually quite touched by it.
Date published: 2014-12-12

Extra Content

Read from the Book

1My Favorite Uncle Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve had it drilled into me that my uncle Lester was my favorite uncle. My mother would thrust the phone at me and say, “Uncle Lester wants to talk to you,” her voice infused with the same forced enthusiasm she used to describe the deliciousness of canned peas. “Tell him you love him.” “I love you, Uncle Lester,” I’d say. “Tell him he’s your favorite uncle.” “You’re my favorite uncle.” It got worse as I got older. I never knew what to say to him, and he never seemed all that interested in talking to me. When I became a teenager I felt silly telling him he was my favorite uncle, although my mother still urged me to do so. I’d say things like “Hey, how’s it goin’?” and he’d grunt some response. He might ask me a question about school. I imagine it was a great relief to both of us when my mother took back the phone. Our brief conversations always left me feeling embarrassed, and just a little bit creepy. He was actually my great-uncle, having been my mother’s favorite uncle long before he was mine. I didn’t know how much money he had, but he was rich enough that he never had to be nice to anyone. Our favorite uncle never visited us, and I think my mother initiated all the phone conversations with him. Later, after he got really sick, he wouldn’t even talk to her. My mother would call almost daily, but she could never get past his housekeeper. I had only met Uncle Lester face to face one time, at his sixty-fifth birthday party. I was six years old, and to me, his house seemed like a castle on a mountaintop. I said the obligatory “Happy birthday” and “I love you” and “You’re my favorite uncle” and then steered clear of him. “His heart is as cold as a brick,” my father said on the drive home. That phrase has stuck with me, I think, because my father used the word cold instead of hard. My elementary school was a brick building. Every day on the way home, I would drag my fingers over the hard, and yes, cold surface. I’m in high school now, but still whenever I walk by a brick building, I feel compelled to touch it. Even now, as I write this, I can almost feel the hard coolness, the sharp edges, and the roughness of the cement between the bricks.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Small Steps:"Louis Sachar is magic to the toughest circle of critics: librarians, children's booksellers, teachers -- and, most of all, kids."— USA Today"Part of what makes Small Steps so believable and appealing is that its characters do have insecurities, and they aren't ashamed to let them show." — BookPage"Sachar is a master storyteller who creates memorable characters." — School Library Journal"Cleverly wrought...heartwarming, witty and suspenseful."— Time Out New York Kids