LOUIS SACHAR’S young-adult novel Holes spent more than 175 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, which sets a daunting commercial benchmark for the Austin author’s new effort, THE CARDTURNER. In a move that should deflate retailers’ expectations, Sachar has written a teen book about that most complex and ritualized card game: bridge. His protagonist is Alton Richards, a 17-year-old who, having lost his girlfriend to his best friend, has a summer’s worth of time on his hands. At his parents’ behest he agrees to work for his wealthy 76-year-old great-uncle Lester Trapp, a brilliant card player recently blinded by diabetes. Four times a week the youngster drives Trapp to the bridge studio and serves as his card turner, telling the sightless player his cards and playing them as directed. Richards, a wry narrator, is by turns befuddled and amazed as he discovers the reality behind the family myths about Trapp’s first tournament partner—rumored to be committed to an asylum—and Trapp’s decades-long hiatus from the game. The Cardturner is an earnest effort to lure youngsters to the bridge table, but though its mix of teen angst and mystery is engaging, Sachar will likely produce few converts among the Wii generation. Delacorte, $17.99
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