|Playing the cards you're dealt|
Author: Johnson, Varian
Ten-year-old Anthony Joplin has made it to double digits! Which means he's now old enough to play in the spades tournament every Joplin Man before him seems to have won. While Ant's friends are stressing about fifth grade homework and girls, Ant is concerned about how he'll measure up to his father's expectations at the card table. When his best friend and spades partner is grounded, he does the unusual and partners with a girl in his class, but his father has a secret that may hurt the family.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.10
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 513079
Kirkus Reviews (+) (08/15/21)
Booklist (+) (09/15/21)
The Hornbook (00/01/22)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/15/2021 *Starred Review* Ten-year-old Anthony “Ant” Joplin has always been captivated by the game of spades. Game play has been passed down in his Black community from generation to generation, and Ant loves teaming up with his best friend, Jamal, to take on the other kids. After a disastrous showing in last year’s junior division, Ant and Jamal are hell-bent on proving their prowess at an upcoming tournament. They’ve been practicing their skills—and trash talk—and feel confident about their chances, but change looms on the horizon: Ant has a burgeoning crush on a new fifth-grader, his beloved dad is struggling with work and acting strangely, and Jamal won’t be honest with his pal about problems at home. As observant Ant awakens to issues of alcoholism and sexist double standards, he is unsure of how best to help the people he loves, particularly if they hurt him in the process. The ever-present game of spades is a clever thread that binds the story together, and a chatty, omniscient narrator is there to explain the game to the uninitiated. The cards provide plenty of fodder for spades-related wisdom (“you lose 100% of the games you’re too scared to play”), as a fierce sense of family and community root Ant and lift him up even in the toughest moments. A compelling story of cards, courage, and compassion. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.