The Rambling by Cajoleas
From the author of Goldeline, an ALA Booklist Top 10 First Novels for Youth pick, comes a middle grade fantasy about a boy searching for his father in a world where a magical card game determines the fate of all who play.
Buddy Pennington is headed to river country. He’s determined to find his daddy, a wandering soul and a legend for his skills at Parsnit, a mysterious card game of magic, chance, and storytelling. Buddy hopes his pop might teach him the game, or at least that he can catch some of his pop’s famous good luck. But no sooner are Buddy and Pop reunited than some of Pop’s old enemies arrive to snatch him up. Boss Authority, the magical crime lord who has held the rivers in his grasp for years, has come to collect on a debt.
Now Buddy must embark on a dangerous rescue mission, learning to play Parsnit with the best of them as he goes. The stars are aligning for one last epic duel—one that will require a sticky-fingered ally, a fortunate twist of fate, and the hand of a lifetime.