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The Cardturner: A Novel about a King, a Queen, and a Joker

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,897 Ratings  ·  1,308 Reviews
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 ho
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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Brianna Casey Totally read it. There is a much of bridge stuff in it but it's more to that. The story is about people, who go through a very bonding stuff, but they…moreTotally read it. There is a much of bridge stuff in it but it's more to that. The story is about people, who go through a very bonding stuff, but they play bridge(less)
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Mock Printz 2011
15th out of 61 books — 160 voters
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Newbery 2011
47th out of 135 books — 539 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oct 17, 2011 Jo rated it it was ok
“I was beginning to get concerned by falling pianos.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Well.... that was a book about Bridge.

High Points.
So, I feel like I need to explain my low point already and you’ve not even read it because it does eventually lead into a high point. Even though the Bridge thing completely went over my head, I absolutely love that Mr Sachar wrote this book knowing full well that a lot of his readers will be like… um, WHAT?
I had no idea what was happening for the majority of this
Jul 15, 2010 Cara rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Bridge addicts
Ok so this is definitely your book if you want to OD on bridge. Seriously, there is so much bridge talk in here (probably half of the book and I'm not exaggerating), but despite that there is a touching story here among all the cards.

Alton is seventeen and heading into the summer before his senior year and hasn't made any many plans. Things are shaken up a bit when Uncle Lester (aka Trapp who is filthy rich) ask Alton to be his cardturner for the summer. Apparently his other cardturner Toni (gir
I must say -- the fact that this book was FILLED with bridge theory and explanations of how to play the game and it still managed to make me care about the characters and what happened to them -- makes me REALLY impressed. I loved this book. I want to play bridge now, and it also made me want to get to know my grandparents better and learn more about their childhood and their passions. Really, this is just a lovely book about a kid getting to know his great uncle and himself, and learning how to ...more
Jul 09, 2013 Ariel rated it really liked it
This was a great contemporary read!

What made me love this book most was one reoccurring thought I had: The author really had fun writing this. I could feel it! I could feel that he wrote this book kore for himself than for anyone else and I loved that! This book goes into some pretty heavy discussion about Bridge, and honestly I didn't get most of it, but through the authors excitement and enjoyment I had fun too! I actually started to understand some of the rules of Bridge and was able to get m
Rating Clarification 3.5 Stars

To be honest, I have no desire to be a good card player, and even after reading this book I'll probably never attempt a game of Bridge. I can barely play a decent hand of war or slam, but I gave this book a try and found that I really enjoyed the story. Despite my lack of skill with cards, I learned a few things, such as pulling a trump, redoubling, following suite, and taking a finesse. I also picked up that there are 13 cards in a Bridge hand and north, south, eas
May 19, 2010 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen
Bridge, the card game, in a book for teens? Yes indeed, and done so well that you will wonder why more teen novels don’t center on chess and bridge.

Alton is looking forward to a bleak summer. His girlfriend dumped him for his best friend. He doesn’t have any money, so he will have to get a crummy job. And now his aging blind uncle has asked him to be his cardturner in bridge. With pressure from his parents, who are focused on the potential inheritance from his uncle, Alton takes the job. As he s
Jun 12, 2010 Thomas rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Louis Sachar's The Cardturner is not something I would usually read, but I picked it up anyway because I liked his previous novel, Holes. Most teenagers probably will not find this book to their liking, unless they appreciate character development and a concise writing style.

It is quite difficult to rate this book. On one hand, some aspects of the book were poorly done - such as the ending, and the romance. Other parts were great though - I actually found myself enjoying the sections
Jun 29, 2010 Sandy rated it it was amazing
I've never played bridge before. I don't know a thing about the game. I tried to learn once with a group of friends who also had never played, but we didn't get very far. But I have played other card games and if you know the basics of what it means to follow suit, take a trick, and if you know what trump is, then you can more than follow along with the bridge jargon in this book. Even if you don't know what any of that means, you can probably still make plenty of sense of the book as the narrat ...more
Feb 24, 2012 Jean rated it it was amazing
When I tell you that I didn't know a thing about bridge before I read this book about bridge and I don't know very much more about it now that I've read it, you might think it wasn't a very good book. Wrong! This book was amazing. The fact that I had to stop multiple times and write down the page number as I came to something I wanted to come back to is evidence enough that I really, really liked this book.
Some things I particularly liked:
*The quirky (and personable) intrusive narration--very fu
Oct 07, 2010 Noah rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 05, 2010 Gerund rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a young adult fiction market saturated with magic and mayhem, a novel about bridge sounds like a real Yarborough.

In bridge-speak, a Yarborough is a hand with no card higher than a nine – that is, the prospects do not look too good. But to the credit of American author Louis Sachar, who penned the award-winning 1998 novel Holes, this book centred around an old-fashioned card game comes up aces.

Aware that his young audience might not share his passion for this quaint form of entertainment, he
Feb 17, 2013 Kassandra rated it really liked it
I was bored. I could not find a good book if my life depended on it.(it kind of did). Then I saw the Cardturner and saw the author and was like, "ok holes was great why not?" So I read it. And loved it.

Alton: he is just one of those characters you fall in love with in the very beginning of the book. What I really liked about this book was that almost all the characters went through considerable changes since we first met them and I really think that must happen for a book to be good. Go Alton!

Apr 13, 2014 Chris rated it liked it
In case you have any doubt, this is a book about the card game bridge. Sachar does not use bridge as a way to tell the story of a 17-year-old boy and his family. He uses a 17-year-old boy and his family to tell the story of bridge. He's very up front about this right from the start of the book - even mentioning that his editor and his family thought he was nuts to want to write a young adult novel that would have a lot of "bridge gibberish" in it. For me, the story worked. I didn't know a thing ...more
Mar 12, 2014 kris rated it liked it
Alton is prodded by his parents into assisting his rich great-Uncle Lester as his cardturner while he plays Bridge so that when Lester passes, he'll write them into his will. Alton discovers in himself an interest in the game, his Uncle, and his maybe-cousin Toni.

I thought the balance of Bridge and narrative was well done; it's obvious that the game is a complicated, intensive beast but Sacher did an amazing job of simplifying it enough that I'm half-tempted to give it a try because it sounds li
Melissa McShane
Mar 18, 2014 Melissa McShane rated it really liked it
Adapted from my write-up for YA/MG Book Battle because I'm basically lazy.

The Cardturner is a beautifully written and tightly plotted novel about one young man and his relationship with his “favorite uncle” Trapp, and how that relationship changes because of the relatively prosaic game of bridge. Maybe it takes someone like Sachar to make bridge, now the province of the old and uncool, interesting to an audience of young people, but make it interesting he does, and I’m incredibly impressed by th
Oct 06, 2011 Lauren rated it did not like it
I'm going to tell anyone who's reading this right now: I'm not a Louis Sachar fan. I find his books flat and boring but a friend of mine said I should give him another chance and try this one. I hate to bag on my friend's reading choices but this is the worst that I've read by far. The book reads like scrabbled eggs: the chapters are almost always two or three pages long and are so scattered it made my head spin. Sachar made it worse by having his narrator apologize for not telling us his name s ...more
A. S.
Apr 13, 2011 A. S. rated it it was amazing
I picked up Louis Sachar's new book The Cardturner because I liked the cover. This is funny because usually when I do the book-by-the-cover thing I end up horribly disappointed. Ironically, the only major disappointment I had was actually about the cover--there were no scenes where the main character, Alton Richards, sleeps on a bench in a bus depot.

Alton Richards is a typical seventeen year old: he's lazy, he loves his little sister, and feels really conflicted about his best friend Cliff datin
Jul 30, 2011 Knitme23 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a tricky one. It sounded good: who does like Louis Sachar after reading Holes? I loved that book, so I hoped that his ability to tell a clear, involving story would make up for the fact that this story was about BRIDGE. As in, "the game of."

Well, maybe it would've won me (and prospective students) over, but for some indefensible reason, the editors let Louis Sachar read the story on the compact disc. Yup, the story of 17 year old wise guy Alton was told in first person by probably-at-l
Oct 06, 2010 Beth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, reviewed
I need to start by saying that to me, this is not a book about bridge. The plot does center around bridge games. The characters in The Cardturner come together because of bridge games. But this is not a book about bridge - it's a book about the people who play the game.

It's about normal people. People you recognize. People who might be your friends or neighbors or work acquaintances. People who make decisions you can understand, decisions that don't merely serve to advance the plot. There are no
Liza Gilbert
Oct 24, 2010 Liza Gilbert rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, bfya2011
What a risk, to write a book about bridge for teens. Even more, what a risk to publish it.

I, like many teens, I imagine, don't give a fig about bridge. I could care less. That said, I still give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I'm not a fan of sports movies, but Sachar did what good sports screenwriters have done for movies - make the sport the vehicle for a sweeping, exciting, and intense experience for the viewer/reader.

I appreciated the use of the white whale technique, where Sachar would alert t
Jan 21, 2014 Jo rated it it was amazing

I never thought I would read a book about bridge, but THE CARDTURNER proved me wrong. I found myself thinking about this book when I should have been thinking about my Anthropology midterm, and believe me, after I finished my midterm, I picked up this book and finished it as quickly as I could.

Admittedly, I only picked the book up because it was by Louis Sachar, beloved by anyone who has ever read HOLES or his WAYSIDE SCHOOL series. But the description on the book jacket was so intriguing, that

May 11, 2010 Lnlisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-ya
Alton gets roped into helping his very wealthy great uncle for the summer. The uncle has recently gone blind, but he is an avid Bridge player and he wants Alton to be his "cardturner." Alton, who is getting over a broken heart after his girlfriend dumped him for his best friend and has nothing else to do over the summer, is intrigued to meet this mysterious uncle that he's heard so much about all of his life. Gradually, Alton becomes interested in the game of Bridge and in his uncle's young frie ...more
First Second Books
So Louis Sachar wrote a novel about bridge.

If you're expecting Wayside School or Holes from this book, stop expecting -- I admit I was initially bemused by the introductory note that was like, 'My agent and editor told me I was insane to write a book about bridge for teenagers. But hey, I'm Louis Sachar! And I really really really really like bridge.'

At the end of this book? I have no more understanding of how bridge works than I did in the first place (there was a valiant effort on the part of
I really like the way the author managed to write about bridge and still make the story interesting. (No offence to bridge players, but let's be honest: bridge isn't my favourite card game.)

Of course there could've been a bit less talk about bridge, but I still don't think it bothered me so much I wanted to put down the book whilst reading it. All the bridge gibberish kind of made the story complete.

Besides the fact that the book was about bridge, I liked the story. There was quite a unique tone
Dec 12, 2015 Becky rated it really liked it
Love the idea of a blind master bridge player hiring his nephew, a trying-to-find-himself teenage, as his "card turner." A card turner (some one who reads the cards once and executes the play as dictated by the blind person) is allowed at the highest level of bridge tournaments with strict rules of conduct enforced. The story takes place in one summer and is a first person narrative seen through the eyes of Alton, the teenager who doesn't know how to play bridge and has the usual girlfriend rela ...more
Jan 06, 2015 Blake rated it it was amazing
I've never played bridge. I was hesitant to read a book in which an unfamiliar card game was it's basis. I was also afraid to read a book that went into detail about how a game is played. If I was that interested in the game, I could just read a how-to book, right? But I've read most of Sachar's work and tremendously enjoyed most of it. I was not disappointed. Sachar warns you when he's about to go into deep explanation of how the game is played and let's you skip it if you want to with a brief ...more
Nov 13, 2014 Ahmer rated it really liked it
Shelves: form-i
The book, The Cardturner, by Louis Sachar, is meant to show that one has to fight for the people that mean most to him. The Cardturner takes place in several locations, such as Uncle Lester's house, Alton's house, and several bridge clubs. Uncle Lester's house is initially a huge mansion in Alton's eyes, but by the end of the book, it's just like any other building for him. Bridge clubs are where one goes to play bridge with other people. The story is told from the point of view of Alton. Other ...more
Nick Tangeman
Mar 12, 2015 Nick Tangeman rated it it was ok
This book is a book about a boy named Alton who helps his blind uncle who plays a game called bridge at the club. Unless you want to learn a lot about the game bridge, in which in my opinion is a game for old people, but the book says otherwise. Basically what happens in the whole book (look out for spoilers) is Alton helps his uncle play bridge while he is blind, he goes to the national championship of bridge players, ends up dyng while after a match, Alton plays for him under his name, and win ...more
Mar 11, 2014 Daphne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the most unusual YA book I've ever read. It's a book about the card game Bridge. Alton helps his great-uncle, who's gone blind, by turning his cards in bridge tournaments. Along the way, Alton learns the game and a lot more about his uncle. I listened to the audio for a trip with my sons & toward the end, my oldest asked me to teach him how to play bridge. I still do not understand, despite the very thorough way the author explained. My one real complaint about the book w
Apr 01, 2016 Oda added it
I dmf-ed this.
It just dident live up to holes.
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English Review 1 3 Oct 27, 2015 05:22PM  
Update 3 10 Jan 29, 2014 05:40PM  
RE: Trapp/Al Paccino 2 25 Jun 22, 2013 12:45PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: The Cardturner 1 3 Feb 05, 2012 05:48AM  
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Louis Sachar (pronounced Sacker), born March 20, 1954, is an American author of children's books.

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“I hope I remember everything," said Toni.
"You won't," said Trapp. "That's how you learn. But after you make the same mistake one, or two, or five times, you'll eventually get it. And then you'll make new mistakes.”
“The impossible is more believable than the highly improbable.” 24 likes
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