Louis Sachar has captured my imagination with several of his novels, the latest of which is The Cardturner. In true Sachar style, this novel is written in a quirky, conversational tone that will easily draw you in and have you flipping pages, even as the narrator begins to describe the complex rules of the card game bridge.
Bridge? Who plays bridge? Well, 17-year-old Alton's great uncle, for one. And when Alton is recruited to assist Great Uncle Lester at his bridge club, this teen reluctantly becomes fascinated by not only the game, but also his wise, yet ornery, relative. Sachar writes with humor and realness, yet also manages to slip a little fantasy into the novel to keep us wondering about the big questions in life, such as "Why are we here?" and "Where do we go once we aren't?" A great read for 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. I think guys in particular would enjoy this story and relate to Alton.