"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.
... winningly affecting and timely ... Readers will root for the good-hearted and charming Ant as he learns lessons about trust, teamwork and true strength, with some sweet hints of romance thrown in as well. They might learn a new skill, too, thanks to Johnson’s beginner-friendly explanations of the strategies—and fun!—of playing spades.
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, 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.
A charismatic omniscient narrator explains the intricacies of the game and its venerable position in Black American culture. Realistic character and community portrayals give a difficult story a great amount of heart ... A story about showing great courage and perseverance when life gets shuffled.