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Life (In the Cards Series #3)
     

Life (In the Cards Series #3)

4.5 2
by Mariah Fredericks, Liselotte Watkins (Illustrator)
 

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Can you make something happen just by worrying about it?

All Syd has ever wanted is to keep her family (human and animal) and friends safe and sound. Shy and quiet, Syd hides from the spotlight, despite her talent on the piano, and is happiest when she's with her best friends or her cat, Beesley.

Syd's always been in the middle between

Overview

Can you make something happen just by worrying about it?

All Syd has ever wanted is to keep her family (human and animal) and friends safe and sound. Shy and quiet, Syd hides from the spotlight, despite her talent on the piano, and is happiest when she's with her best friends or her cat, Beesley.

Syd's always been in the middle between Anna and Eve, and she's never had a problem with that until now. Because now Syd really needs someone to listen to her, but it doesn't feel like anyone's paying attention. Eve can't think about anything other than her upcoming TV audition, and Anna and Nelson's relationship seems to be imploding before it even starts. Frustrated by the fact that her two best friends are growing away from her and frightened by her dad's mounting illness, she decides to consult the tarot cards for a look into her future.

But what Syd sees scares her more than any fight with Anna or Eve ever could, because as her final card, Syd draws Death. What do the cards have in store for her? Is it possible for Syd to change her destiny?

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Claire Rosser
This is the third in the series about three friends consulting tarot cards to find out what their futures hold. The principal friend here is Syd, the quiet one. Syd is an only child whose father was a talented pianist who dropped out of the Julliard School when the pressure got too intense. He has always shielded Syd from pressure, even when she reveals her own enormous musical talent. Syd loves animals as much as she loves humans � and she feels more comfortable with animals, especially the cats she rescued (in the first book in the series). While there are many light, witty elements in the story, the essentials aren't so ephemeral—they are serious. Syd's father is drinking and getting angry enough to lose his job. Will the family fall apart as well? For the first time in her life, Syd gives up on being quiet and humble and instead expresses her true feelings, even anger. And it turns out to be liberating. She was always so afraid of losing her two best friends she never asserted herself with them. Eventually, she is assured her best friends are there for her no matter what she says or feels. This continues to be an entertaining, and also meaningful, series for younger YAs. Reviewer: Claire Rosser
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

In this third offering in the series, Syd tells her story. She is often in the shadow of her friends Anna and Eve, each of whom starred in a previous book. Their stories revolved around tarot-card readings that seem to have come true. Syd, always reluctant to do a reading, finally does, but her cards foretell death and disaster, which frighteningly parallel her temperamental father's worsening alcoholism and career problems. Quiet Syd is a gifted pianist; but her father, a former musical prodigy who never reached his potential, warns her against risking disappointment by competing. Her other passion is animals, especially the rescued elderly cat whose medication she leaves in her father's hands when she goes out of town. The animal becomes so ill that Eve has to have it put to sleep. In this decent but not stellar tale, Syd works on forgiving her dad as he begins his recovery, explores her burgeoning feelings for Eve's older brother, and considers her own independence as distinct from her friends and her family even while she is still deeply connected and committed to them. Messages are positive while realistic, and the target audience will be glad to see how Syd plays the hand she is dealt. The books are best read in order.-Suzanne Gordon, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, GA

Kirkus Reviews
Best friends Syd, Anna and Eve return in this third outing, which centers on the serious side of family problems. Talented pianist Syd agrees to her own tarot-card reading, hoping to dispel inner fears surrounding her father's alcoholism. Shaken when suspicion, adversity, ill health and even a death sign appear on her cards, she resolves to dismiss the predictions as fantasy. Once again, Fredericks weaves a believable pattern of events that deftly incorporate the tarot interpretations in ways that make sense and provide opportunities for thoughtful reflection. Syd's gloomy outlook is confirmed in a series of unforeseen scenarios which force a reality check for all. The death of her beloved cat Beasley and father's breakdown are balanced against her new relationship with Eve's older brother Mark and her decision to consider a Julliard education despite her father's objections. Syd's reluctance to accept any future readings indicates her recognition of the inevitability of life's unpleasant and wonderful surprises. Authentic and pragmatic with a touch of idealism and romance. (Fiction. 10-13)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689876592
Publisher:
Aladdin
Publication date:
04/21/2009
Series:
In the Cards Series , #3
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
9 - 13 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

I never wanted to do a reading. I hate those cards. Maybe they do tell the future, but so what? Who wants to know the future?

I know Eve — and Anna, though she'd never say it — thinks I'm the world's biggest chicken. I don't mind admitting it. The world is scary. People are cruel. I know we're supposed to think everyone's nice at heart and if you just get to know them, you'll see they're really good inside. But if you've seen what people can do to animals, you'd know there are some seriously unnice people out there.

I guess what I mean is, I'm not the kind of person who jumps into things. I'm not Eve, who has no problem waving a hand in the world's face and yelling, Hey, look at me! Like this musical she did. If they'd asked me to replace the star at the last minute, I'd have thrown up. Or fainted. Or both. Which would have been quite pretty.

I'm not like Anna, either. Anna thinks we're more alike in that neither of us is super confident. But Anna does so many brave things without knowing they're brave. She doesn't think twice about taking care of her little brother. She doesn't think it takes courage to get dumped by a boy you're crazy about and not fall apart. But I saw what she went through, and I know different.

In fact, after the Declan Disaster, I told Anna I wished I were braver. She said, "You're crazy. Who saved Mrs. Rosemont's cats?" She was talking about these cats her neighbor left behind when she died. She gave one to Anna, but the other two went to people who didn't really want pets. Animals like that can end up abandoned, so I found the cats new homes. It wasn't that hard. One's with Eve, and I have the other, Beesley, who's the sweetest thing ever.

I said, "Yeah, but that's easy."

Anna raised her eyebrow, but for me, it is easy. If it's a choice between calling a total stranger and knowing I left some poor thing with an owner who didn't want it, well, that's an easy choice.

"And you played the piano for Eve's show," said Anna. "That took huge guts."

I smiled, because it's true that at first I was nervous about playing in front of people. But when I play, it's like the real world disappears. All I think about is the music. So that's easy too.

But talk to kids I don't know at school? Forget it. Raise my hand in class unless I'm absolutely one hundred percent certain of the answer? No way. Approach an actual male-type person and say, Would you like to hang out sometime? Yeah, right. Just thinking about it makes my stomach lurch.

Maybe that's just how I am. Hey, the world needs chickens, too, right? But sometimes I worry that I'm going to go through my whole life doing the same old things year after year. New people, new places — my brain starts churning out "What ifs": What if something goes wrong? What if they think I'm an idiot? What if I wreck everything?

It drives my mother bats. When I tell her I don't want to go to school dances or compete in some music contest, she clicks her tongue and says, "Syd-ney." And I know she's thinking, How'd I end up with such a coward for a daughter?

She's always on me to make new friends. I'm like, "I have friends. I have the best friends in the world." She once said, "You have to get out there, honey. It doesn't make you disloyal to Anna and Eve to have other friends. Someday the three of you won't be so joined at the hip. People change, new things come along. What will you do when that happens?" All I could think was, I don't know. I hope it never does.

The one person who truly gets me is my dad. He never pushes me to "get out there." And when my mom does, he says, "Leave her alone." Like when this teacher at Anna and Eve's private school heard me play and pushed me to try for Julliard, my mom was thrilled. My dad had to say for me, "Forget it. That place is too pressured for Sydney." And he should know, he went there.

(The one thing I don't like about my dad standing up for me is that I hate being another thing he and my mom fight about. They fight enough as it is. My mom's friend Liz says some people just like screaming — which I don't get at all.)

It was my dad who showed me that if you're a chicken, music can save you. He showed me how music creates a whole other world, without people and all their drama. When I was six, he took my finger and pressed one of the low keys.

"What does that sound like?"

"Sad," I said. "Scary. But...," I guessed, "nice, too. Like I want to hear it again."

"That's the thing about music," he told me. "It takes pain and turns it into something beautiful."

When my dad was young, everyone thought he would be a world-famous musician. We have a scrapbook full of pictures of him playing in concert halls, winning competitions. But the pictures stop when my dad's around twenty. He didn't become a world-famous musician. He became a teacher instead.

Once I asked him if he minded not being a famous musician. He said, "Wasn't good enough." He didn't say if he minded or not.

But more and more, I think he does. 'Cause it's not only my mom he fights with. Two years ago he lost his job because he screamed at the principal. He got a new job, though, and basically, everything's been fine.

But last night, when I got home from the cast party for Eve's show, I could feel it: Something had happened. Something really bad.

Which is why, even though I hate the cards, I called Anna this morning and told her I wanted to do a reading. Copyright © 2008 by Mariah Fredericks

Meet the Author

Mariah Fredericks is the author of the bestselling novel The True Meaning of Cleavage, which Meg Cabot called "Laugh-out-loud funny and way twisted!" She is also the author of Head Games, Crunch Time, and two previous books in the In the Cards series, Love and Fame.

Mariah accepts that cats are her superior in every way and would never dream of insulting one by trying to own it. However, she has been reading tarot cards since she was a teenager, and while she knows that it is lame to believe in fortune-telling, her readings keep coming true, so she keeps doing them. She has even written a tarot guide called The Smart Girl's Guide to Tarot.

She lives with her husband, son, and basset hound in Jackson Heights, New York. Visit her online at www.mariahfredericks.com or www.myspace.com/mariahfredericks.

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Life (In the Cards Series #3) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Against her better judgment, Sydney asks her friends, Anna and Eve, to do a tarot card reading for her.

Something is going on with her dad; she's afraid he may have lost his job again and that her mother might be too fed up with him this time for them to stay married. Although Sydney has never really believed that the cards can tell the future, both Anna and Eve have had such good luck with their recent readings--Anna getting a good boyfriend and Eve auditioning for a reality show--and Syd finally grows worried enough to find out what the future holds for her father.

Instead of reassuring her, the reading turns up bad, even ending with the Death card. Sydney swears that this is her punishment for trying to cheat the system and look ahead, but maybe it's not real. Maybe, if she believes hard enough, she can prevent her dad spiraling out of control and the breakdown of her family. She resolves that she's going to maintain her trust in her father, the only person who really understands her shyness, dedication to music, and love of all living things.

With Anna and Eve overly involved in their own lives and promising futures, Syd starts to feel that she and her friends are growing apart, and she doesn't have the tools to handle it yet. When things start to go awry in the lives of her friends, Sydney holds on to her hope that, if the cards were wrong about her friends, then maybe they were wrong about her father, too.

But then her father makes a devastating mistake that rips away Sydney's trust, and it becomes painfully obvious to Syd that there may be little she can do about her father's problems, or the changes that she and her friends must experience.

Third in a series, I enjoyed the characterizations and storytelling in this book so much that I'm going to be hunting down the first two books very soon. I also appreciated the author's approach to presenting tarot cards to younger readers, demonstrating how such fortune-telling techniques can be open to all kinds of interpretation, not necessarily good or bad.