Louis Sachar, . . Delacorte, $17.99 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-385-73662-6
“I realize that reading about a bridge game isn't exactly thrilling,” 17-year-old narrator Alton tells readers early on. Luckily, this funny and thoughtful novel is as much about building bridges—between generations and maybe even between life and death—as it is about playing cards. Alton gets roped into serving as a card turner for his great-uncle, Lester Trapp, a bridge whiz who recently lost his eyesight (Alton's job is to read Trapp's cards for him). Though Alton barely knows Trapp, his opportunistic mother won't miss a chance for Alton to get in good with his “favorite uncle,” who's wealthy and in poor health. To Alton's surprise, he becomes enamored of the game and begins to bond with his crusty uncle—who shares insight into synchronicity and the connection between reality and perception. With dry, understated humor, Alton makes the intricacies of bridge accessible, while his relationships with and observations about family members and friends (including an ex-girlfriend, a manipulative best friend, and especially Trapp's former card turner) form a portrait of a reflective teenager whose life is infinitely enriched by connections he never expected to make. Ages 12–up.
Reviewed on: 04/05/2010
Library Binding - 352 pages - 978-0-385-90619-7
Other - 1 pages - 978-0-375-89647-7