Playing the Cards You're Dealt

$8.99 USD

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Ten-year-old Anthony Joplin has made it to double digits! Which means he’s finally big 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, he 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 what he has in mind. She doesn’t understand that trash talking is part of the game. Or why Ant’s dad doesn’t want 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…

Varian Johnson is the author of several novels for children and young adults, including The Parker Inheritance, which won both Coretta Scott King Author Honor and Boston GlobeHorn Book Honor awards, The Great Greene Heist, an ALA Notable Children's book, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, and a Texas Library Association Lone Star List selection, and the graphic novel Twins co-created with Shannon Wright, an NPR Best Book. He lives with his family near Austin, Texas. 

An Indies Next selection

Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year

* A compelling story of cards, courage, and compassion. -- Booklist, starred review

* A story about showing great courage and persevereance when life gets shuffled. -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* Johnson addresses themes of toxic masculinity, family, and legacy in this vividly told novel. -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Playing the Cards You're Dealt, is a necessary tale about how some traditions are worth upholding, and others--especially those that harm people--aren't. More importantly, Johnson with the deft hand indicative of all his work, gives us Anthony Joplin to show 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

"Reading a well-written book is akin to watching an acrobat on a tightrope. And Varian Johnson is the best of acrobats--he's made the task look effortless with an air of compassion, tenderness, humor, and a dab of magic realism." - Christopher Paul Curtis, Newbery Award-winning author of BUD, Not BUDDY and The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963


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