If you're in elementary school (as either a student or teacher) then Louis Sachar is a must read. His new book, The Cardturner, is a level above Holes in terms of reading level and content, and tells the story of a high school boy, Alton, who is forced to be a card-turner for his cranky, blind Uncle Lester. Lester treats Alton like dirt, but in hopes that his wealthy uncle will leave his poor family a large inheritance, Alton silently accepts the verbal attacks. Although he acts like a fly on the wall, Alton learns a lot about bridge and his uncle's mysterious past - including insane asylums, abuse, forbidden love, and suicide. Alton grows more and more interested in bridge and puzzling together his uncle's past and what exactly happened so many years ago at the Bridge National Championships. One of the keys to piecing together this mystery is Toni, his smart, shy, and cute cousin (well, he's not so sure about that last part). He does become sure of a few things: his growing fondness of bridge, Toni, and Uncle Lester, as well as this nagging desire to push his uncle to accomplish the goal he couldn't before - winning the nationals. -- Elise Clarkson
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 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.
Through Alton’s wry observations, Louis Sachar explores the disparity between what you know and what you think you know. With his incomparable flair and inventiveness, he examines the elusive differences between perception and reality—and inspires readers to think and think again.
About the Author
Louis Sachar is the author of the award-winning Small Steps and the New York Times number one bestseller Holes, as well as Stanley Yelnats’ Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake. He is an avid bridge player. His books for younger readers include There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom, The Boy Who Lost His Face, Dogs Don’t Tell Jokes, and the Marvin Redpost series, among many others.