Really 3.5 stars because Louis Sachar is such a great writer that he can make any story interesting--but not more because he really had to work to make this one so. To be fair, it's the best young adult novel about the game of bridge I've ever read. Everyone said, "You can just skip all the parts about bridge and enjoy the story" and this was true, but I'd have preferred to read a book I didn't want to skip any parts of.
Pros: The main character is appealing and I think it's good to have books about relationships between teens and older adults (there is really only one other teen in the book, plus two who are mostly off-stage, and an eleven-year-old sister). In many ways, it's much like Holes, which I loved: short, episodic chapters; a little magic realism; the story of star-crossed lovers from the past affecting the contemporary story. In another way, it's a traditional sports story (underdog triumphs, etc.) only the sport is mental.
I'll definitely recommend it to those teens who have read "everything" and appreciate good characters and a good story, but I won't booktalk it.