THE CARDTURNER

Who wants to read a novel about playing bridge—a dull, old-fashioned game nobody plays anymore, some old person’s idea of fun before there were cell phones, television, iPods and video games? That’s what 17-year-old Alton Richards thinks about bridge when he gets a job as cardturner for his diabetic, blind and curmudgeonly (and fabulously rich) Uncle Lester Trapp, a bridge master. In a journey into the culture of bridge and its alien rules and language, Alton comes to see the extraordinary in Trapp and to consider such new ideas as perception, synchronicity, randomness and the subconscious. Alton’s first-person voice is the right vehicle for taking readers into this world and delineating how Alton is changed by the newfound relationship with his uncle and sort-of cousin Toni. Readers need not be card sharks to appreciate this unusual story; in fact, they will soon realize they’ve been dealt more than cards in this narrative of how big ideas and unforgettable characters affect Alton as he learns to take charge of his life and play his own hand. Intelligent readers will love this work—it’s in the cards. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 11, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-73662-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

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THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY

Han’s leisurely paced, somewhat somber narrative revisits several beach-house summers in flashback through the eyes of now 15-year-old Isabel, known to all as Belly. Belly measures her growing self by these summers and by her lifelong relationship with the older boys, her brother and her mother’s best friend’s two sons. Belly’s dawning awareness of her sexuality and that of the boys is a strong theme, as is the sense of summer as a separate and reflective time and place: Readers get glimpses of kisses on the beach, her best friend’s flirtations during one summer’s visit, a first date. In the background the two mothers renew their friendship each year, and Lauren, Belly’s mother, provides support for her friend—if not, unfortunately, for the children—in Susannah’s losing battle with breast cancer. Besides the mostly off-stage issue of a parent’s severe illness there’s not much here to challenge most readers—driving, beer-drinking, divorce, a moment of surprise at the mothers smoking medicinal pot together. The wish-fulfilling title and sun-washed, catalog-beautiful teens on the cover will be enticing for girls looking for a diversion. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-6823-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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