Wolitzer, Meg. The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman.
ARC recieved from the publisher.
Duncan lives with his aunt and poor single mother; he realizes early on that he has the power to read with his fingers. Carl, who is mean to him at school, believes that he can harness this power to win the Youth Scrabble Tournament. April is obsessed with Scrabble, and also a boy she met on vacation years ago. Nate is home schooled by his oddly wealthy writer father. He is forced to play Scrabble because his father competed in the YST years ago. He plays with his friend Maxie. Complications ensue once all three converge at the tournament in Florida: Duncan realizes his father is not dead (he plays the word "panosis" which is the disease from which his father died, but the word is disqualified), April hopes to locate the illusive boy, and Nate's father meets up with his former Scrabble partner, who ends up trapping some of the contestants on a ride at Funswamp, hence the alligator on the cover. In the end, everything works.
Strengths: Can't think of anything that covers Scrabble in this much depth. There is a little bit of action.
Weaknesses: I've not had anyone ask for a Scrabble book, and I can't see the children asking for this any more than they would Sachar's The Cardturner. I found the lists of Scrabble words and the extremely tidy ending to be somewhat annoying, but other people did not:
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