The Cardturner

Author: Louis Sachar 
Pages: 336 
Publisher: Delacorte Books 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): 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.

My Summary: After his girlfriend dumped him for his best friend, Alton knew his summer wasn't going to be a great one. With the next two months looking bleak, Alton has no choice but to accept the role of 'cardturner' for his great uncle, who has recently become blind. 

Clueless about bridge as well as his uncle's past, Alton finds himself being sucked into the world of competitive playing. And with his uncle's health deterriorating, Alton is ordered by his parents to figure out a way to get his 'favourite uncle' to name their family in his will. 

My Thoughts: Ok, I'll admit it: I never read Holes as a kid. In the sixth grade we were allowed to pick our own book if we didn't want to read Holes, and I ended up choosing Bridge to Terabithia (which is a story of heartbreak I shall not go into now). Needless to say, I started reading this book having no prior knowledge of the author or his work.

I enjoyed this book. It's really refreshing to have a male main character in a contemporary lit novel - most of the ones I read or have read had female MCs. Alton was a great character who experienced a lot of growth throughout the novel. Cliff on the other hand... I despised him. But I think the author did that on purpose. 

I really liked the way the author included the bridge references and lessons. It was awesome that you didn't have to read through a whole section on bridge playing if you didn't want to (just follow the whale!) and not have to sacrifice any part of the story. 

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys YA contemporary lit.

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