Playing the cards you're dealt

by Johnson, Varian,

Format: Print Book 2021
Availability: Unavailable 0 of 4 copies
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Summary

"With a deft hand, Johnson shows us there's no such thing as "too young" when it comes to questioning big ideas like manhood, or even family." -Jason Reynolds, New York Times bestselling author of Look Both Ways and Stamped

Literary powerhouse and Coretta Scott King Honor- and Boston Globe / Horn Book Honor-winning author of The Parker Inheritance Varian Johnson explores themes of toxic masculinity and family legacy in this heartfelt, hopeful story of one boy discovering what it really means to be a man.

SECRETS ARE ALWAYS A GAMBLE

Ten-year-old Anthony Joplin has made it to double digits! Which means he's finally old enough to play in the spades tournament every Joplin Man before him seems to have won. So while Ant's friends are stressing about fifth grade homework and girls, Ant only has one thing on his mind: how he'll measure up to his father's expectations at the card table.

Then Ant's best friend gets grounded, and he's forced to find another spades partner. And Shirley, the new girl in his class, isn't exactly who he has in mind. She talks a whole lot of trash -- way more than his old partner. Plus, he's not sure that his father wants him playing with a girl. But she's smart and tough and pretty, and knows every card trick in the book. So Ant decides to join forces with Shirley -- and keep his plans a secret.

Only it turns out secrets are another Joplin Man tradition. And his father is hiding one so big it may tear their family apart...

Published Reviews
Booklist 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."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Johnson (Twins) addresses themes of toxic masculinity, family, and legacy in this vividly told novel centering Black 10-year-old card shark Anthony "Ant" Joplin. As he starts the fifth grade in South Carolina, Ant is preparing for the Oak Grove annual spades tournament. The game is a family tradition in the Joplin house, and Ant, whose play was "less than satisfactory" the previous year, wants to live up to his champion brother's success and make their father proud. Ant practices with the help of his trash-talking best friend, Jamal, and meets new schoolmate Shirley, from Texas, who proves to be just as good at spades as Ant. But as Ant's father, who holds a limited view of masculinity, begins to spiral into online gambling and alcohol abuse, and Jamal's teasing becomes hurtful, Ant teams up with Shirley for the game, juggling compassion and disappointment as things grow worse on all sides. Via an omniscient, "mostly hands-off" narrator who dynamically breaks down the "great African American institution called spades," Johnson deftly and realistically portrays family, friend, and classroom dynamics alongside lively descriptions of the beloved game. Ages 8--12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties. (Oct.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Fathers and sons -- Juvenile fiction.
Playing cards -- Juvenile fiction.
Card players -- Juvenile fiction.
Family secrets -- Juvenile fiction.
African American boys -- Juvenile fiction.
Boys -- Juvenile fiction.
Preteen girls -- Juvenile fiction.
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction.
Families -- Juvenile fiction.
Fathers and sons -- Fiction.
Card players -- Fiction.
Family secrets -- Fiction.
Secrets -- Fiction.
African American boys -- Fiction.
Boys -- Fiction.
Friendship -- Fiction.
Families -- Fiction.
Bildungsromans.
Publisher New York :2021
Edition First edition.
Other Titles Playing the cards you are dealt
Language English
Description 309 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9781338348538
1338348531
9780702314728
0702314722
Other Classic View