The Cardturner: A Novel About Imperfect Partners and Infinite Possibilities [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...
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The Cardturner: A Novel About Imperfect Partners and Infinite Possibilities

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Overview

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.
 
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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375896477
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 164,814
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Louis Sachar
Louis Sachar is the author of the award-winning Small Steps and the New York Times number one 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 Redpost series, among many others.
 

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

1    
My 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.       

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 54 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(33)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 54 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 27, 2010

    Novelist loves this book

    I'm a big fan of HOLES as well as a bridge player, so I figured to enjoy Louis Sachar's new book for teens, THE CARDTURNER [never mind that my teenage years are long past]. But I LOVED THIS BOOK! You can find the plot in other reviews. I'm going to rave about the writing, the characters, the philosophy, and the plot. Sachar puts you in hero Alton's head so perfectly that everything Alton does/says/thinks is fully integrated into a sympathetic personality. The other characters are run the gamut of humanity without being stereotypes: spunky kid sister, odious parents, manipulative best friend, cranky elderly uncle, and crazy cousin who turns out to be not so crazy after all.

    But THE CARDTURNER is more than a "how I spent my summer" teen novel. The mystery that Alton's family has tried so hard to conceal is carefully revealed, mental illness and domestic violence rear their ugly heads, the mutual distain between Alton and his elderly uncle slowly becomes respect and admiration, and young love blooms. Add in some ghosts and philosophical discussions for good measure, plus last, but not least, the game of Bridge. If anything can get kids to start playing bridge, this book will do it.

    Unfortunately for me, this is one of the crummy things about being a novelist myself. I used to read fantastic novels that left me feeling, well, fantastic. Reading Sachar's latest work certainly does that, but it also makes me realize that I'll never be able to write so well. Sigh.

    Maggie Anton
    www.rashisdaughters.com

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Life in a game

    This book is an extraordinary example of good writing. Louis Sachar took something as seemingly uninteresting as Bridge (the card game) and made it a central focus to tell the story of growth, love, life, and to point out what is important in life and what it is not. This story is easy to read and an excellent book to share with teenage boys to read by themselves or to read with them. We can all relate with the characters and their stories unfold in interesting and delightful ways. I would definitely recommend this book to adults and teens alike.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2012

    This book was absoulutely great. luved it. didn't hate it 1 bit.

    This book was absoulutely great. luved it. didn't hate it 1 bit. im 13, and i think that this book is great, great, great. i just skipped over the bridge parts and read the sum box. honestly, if u didn't read the sum box then u wouldn't really get wat is goin on in the back. who would hate this book anyway???

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2012

    LOVED this book!

    Although it is a young adult book, I gave a copy to all my bridge buddies and several non-bridge-playing friends that have expressed an interest in learning the game. I've asked that they share the books with their kids/grandkids to get more people interested in bridge. This book is so lovely, and well written. You need not know anything about bridge to enjoy it. Those that have read it agreed that it is a wonderful book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2011

    i lovrd this book!

    The first few chapters were a little hard to get thru but after that i couldnt put this book down! Highly recpmmended. Makes me want to learn bridge

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2014

    Great book

    Love it. Its the best book i have read all year of couse it has only been 1month

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2014

    Great

    Alton has to bring uncle trapp to a club named brige every other day and uncle trapp is blind so cant see cards.whant to read more? Just read the book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2013

    Alton has to drive his great uncle to his bridge games, but when

    Alton has to drive his great uncle to his bridge games, but when he dies Alton and a girl named Toni gets closer and they play in a bridge competition, Alton plays in the bridge game as his dead great uncle Lester Trapp and Toni plays as her great grandmother Annable Finnick who is also dead but old bridge players.




    The Cardturner is a really good book. It is a fiction book but with real life problems going on. The author Louis Sachar puts at the beginning of the book that his publisher, editor, his wife, and agent said the he was crazy and told him that “know one is going to want to read a book about bridge”. But it is not all about bridge it is a story with bridge players.  




     Louis Sachar gives really good description about the characters like how old Alton is, all the problems that his great uncle Lester Trapp has. The book has the characters telling stories of what have happened through their lives playing bridge, and meeting new bridge friends.




    This is a book that will keep you happy and want to keep reading and want to  know more about it. It has information about bridge and it will make you want to learn how to play bridge if you don’t know how to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    H

    This is SUCH A GOOD BOOK! you should DEFFINATELY BUY IT!!!!

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  • Posted January 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Rating: 3 The Low Down: It¿s the summer before junior year,

    Rating: 3




    The Low Down: It’s the summer before junior year, and it isn’t going well. First, Alton Richards' girlfriend leaves him for his best friend. Then his mother insists that he hang out with his Great-Uncle Lester all summer. Lester is a master bridge player who, ever since he lost his sight, needs someone to read and play his cards for him during games and tournaments. Alton’s dad has recently lost his job, and Alton’s mom is hoping that her status as “favorite niece” will mean that Lester will be generous to them in his will. Very generous.




    At first, Alton doesn’t get bridge at all; but the longer he watches and listens, he starts to like it and look forward to helping Lester. He also starts to understand the Lester, the man,since he is more than just an ATM. Taciturn and reticent, he’s not into revealing himself to Alton or reveling in small talk. Eventually, however, through Uncle Lester’s friends and fellow bridge players, Alton is able to understand and appreciate his uncle and bridge.




    Best Thang ‘Bout It: Louis Sachar is an effortless writer, which couldn’t have been easy with all of the explanations of bridge and how to play, the terminology, etc. I appreciate his system of showing a symbol when he was going to write in detail about a bridge hand or play. That meant you could skip it and go to a box at the end of the explanation where a short explanation would be written. Clever.




    I’m Cranky Because: It was so boring. I felt like the actual storyline was so bogged down in the rudiments of bridge. If all the explanations of the game had been stripped away, it would have been a short story. I’ll admit I do remember having trouble getting into one of his previous books, Holes, but ended up loving it. I really thought this would happen again.




    To Read or Not To Read: It’s a well-written story, but I think it would be of interest to a specific type of person. I will leave that up to you to make that call.




    The Cardturner by Louis Sachar was published May 11, 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers.




    Genre:Young Adult Fiction Contemporary
    Ages: 12 and  up

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2012

    Wow

    So good i'm SPEECHLESS

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2012

    Terrible, just awful.

    This bookis awful, in almost every possible way. I cherish my copies of Holes and Small Steps, but after reading this book, I have no respect for Louis Sachar. THIS IS A COMPLETE FAILURE OF A BOOK. Despite trying to keep the bridge terminology, rules, etc., he has failed at that. Despite trying to make this a heartfelt story, he has failed at that. Heck, he even tried do incorporate philisophy, and he failed at that. HEED THIS WARNING. Do not get this book. Period.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Amazing

    I loved thi book and it truely amazing. Who would have know it would be this good. I picked it up because it talied about cards, yet it had a truely amazing story behind it.

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  • Posted September 22, 2012

    I would give The Cardturner by Louis Sachar 5 stars because the

    I would give The Cardturner by Louis Sachar 5 stars because the book was very interesting and held my attention until the very end. The story is about a 16 year old boy named Alton Richards. He and his friend Cliff don't hang out anymore because Cliff is with Alton's ex girlfriend, Katie, and Alton still has feelings for her. Alton has a Great Uncle Lester who is very rich, but very sick, he has diabetes and has gone blind. One day he calls Alton and asks Alton to be his cardturner at a bridge club that he plays at. Alton excepts and starts to learn the game and also learns more about his Great Uncle. Alton's father suddenly loses his job and now his family needs money. Since Lester is very rich Alton's parents want him to get on his Uncle's good side so that when he dies he can leave them some money in his will. Can Alton become a good cardturner with his Uncle and become friends with him, while also turning cards over in his personal life? Read to find out. I would recommend this book to anyone because every has relationship and friend problems like Alton does and they would be able to relate to him. Also in the book it explains a little how to play the game bridge which could be fun for anyone interested.

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  • Posted January 8, 2012

    not my favorite

    I was expecting a lot out of this book, since I loved Holes and Small Steps. I think the book got TOO bogged down with bridge hands, although I do have a new appreciation for the card game. Didn't feel like the characters went very deep.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Domeana

    This book taught me about the game bridge but the book itself is just a plain boring book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    AWESOME

    This is a great book. It has a good story line. Its about a kid and his uncle. His uncle has a sickness and is blind. The uncle plays bridge which is a card game. The kid is the uncles cardturner which means that the kid plays for the uncle and the uncle tells the kid what to do. The uncle gets really good at bridge and enters into a nation tournament. A the last minute he dies of his sickness. So his cardturner gos for him and his uncle tells him wht to do in the back of his mind. In the end the kid wins the tournament and celebrates. Overall its a great book. It also tells you how to play bradge too. I recomend this book to everyone.

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  • Posted July 18, 2011

    Something New

    I thought that this was yet another great book from Louis Sachar! It looks at a game that not many teens play, bridge. The book gives you an insight in how to play bridge without making the book a bridge rulebook. The book also involves a new look on schizophrenia (but I wont spoil)

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  • Posted April 22, 2011

    great story

    amazing novel made u want more ond more of the cardturner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2011

    Entertaining read....makes me want to learn to play bridge.

    Enjoyable reading interspersed with detailed bridge trivia and rules. Storyline follows a young man into the complicated duplicate bridge world of lifemasters, bridge tournaments, novice vs. seasoned players, and first love.

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