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

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  8,056 Ratings  ·  1,427 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
Kindle Edition, 354 pages
Published (first published May 11th 2010)
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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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Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“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
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was a very good book, which made me want to read more by this author.
Melissa McShane
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
Sep 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 05, 2010 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 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!

Rahul C8B
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely an intriguing book. This book was well, unique. Quite philosophical, and really explored the meaning of someone's life, and how it was connected to others around him. I originally bought this book last year at the book fair. Only after Eric persuaded me to though, and it was a lot of persuading. I took one glance after I bought it, and set it on my shelf at home. It was only this year that I actually got around to reading this book, and man, it was good. My 7th grade self couldn't app ...more
Feb 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
A. S.
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 25, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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

Oct 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
May 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 30, 2011 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
Liza Gilbert
Oct 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
I dmf-ed this.
It just dident live up to holes.
Kameron Nettleton
This book was...really okay.

I guess I should be impressed with the audacity to write a book about Bridge, a card game that I'm pretty sure my grandparents don't even know how to play. And while it's supposed to be more than a book about that, I couldn't help but feel like I had just spent 300 pages reading about Bridge.

Alton Richards is a fairly good narrator with some really brilliant moments. The descriptions of a teen's emotions when seeing a girl wave or smile at him are well done and meanin
Madigan McGillicuddy
I was lucky enough to hear Louis Sachar speak at the 2008 Children's Literature Council Fall Gala in California and I'll never forgot how he told us of his latest project. "I want," he declared, "to publish a book." He paused dramatically. "For teens." He gave us a sly look. "On how to play bridge!" He then related how his agent had promptly told him, "This will never get published. Teens don't want to read about the card game of bridge. They just don't." Sachar went on to tell us of his near-ep ...more
Nov 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Louis Sachar has a great history of writing books about teens developing peculiar and nuanced relationships with adults, and this one is no exception: Alton, who only knows his uncle Lester as a gruff moneybags his parents want him to charm so they'll get a good cut in his will, gets drafted to turn cards for his uncle so the poor guy won't have to quit his passion of playing bridge now that he's gone blind. Somewhat predictably, Alton is not incredibly shallow and enjoys learning more about his ...more
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English Review 1 3 Oct 27, 2015 05:22PM  
Update 3 11 Jan 29, 2014 05:40PM  
RE: Trapp/Al Paccino 2 26 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.

More about Louis Sachar...
“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 time you quit learning is the time to quit playing.” 24 likes
More quotes…