Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Payback Time: Carl Deuker



Through the eyes of a distinctly non-athletic protagonist—a fat high school journalist named Mitch—veteran sports novelist Deuker reveals the surprising truth behind a mysterious football player named Angel. When Angel shows up Lincoln High, he seems to have no past—or at least not one he is willing to discuss. Though Mitch gets a glimpse of Angel's incredible talent off the field, Angel rarely allows himself to shine on the field. Is he an undercover cop, wonders Mitch? Or an ineligible player? In pursuit of a killer story, Mitch decides to find out just who this player is and what he's done. In the end, the truth surprises everyone.


From the moment I picked up Payback Time I couldn’t put it down.

Payback Time is a fantastic book that allows its readers to relate to the protagonist in a number of different ways. Including his demeanor and struggles with weight and recognizing what he wants to do in his life. And it is through these struggles that we are able to see the protagonist, Mitch, grow.

Payback Time is an interesting mixture of a young adult, sports, and mystery novel. It is this unique combination that allows Deuker to completely capture the audience’s attention. Whenever the story starts to slow down readers will be swept up into an action packed description of a fourth and out play that Mitch is reporting on, bringing a fresh sense to the book and reviving this adrenaline charged book.

But the real excitement of the story is centered around Mitch, the protagonist, snooping around Angel, the mysterious football player who seems to old and is sensational, yet downplays how good he on the field. Angel’s past slowly unfurls in front of Mitch, but when the mystery is solved, and the worst happens, it’s up to Mitch to see what kind of person he really is and try to help fix the problem that he created.

While most authors would flounder about with this kind crisis, and try to have the character make decisions that don’t make any sense or have them have unrealistic conclusions. Deuker’s characters are true and accurate. And it is through his sensational character development that he is able to show the change that Mitch makes, allowing his conclusion to really end with a bang.

Between the exciting football games, the unfolding mystery of Angel, and Deuker’s engrossing characters this is a great book. I personally couldn’t put it down, and I would recommend it to fans of young adult sports books, mysteries, and anyone just looking for a good book.

9 out of 10


Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Published: September 6, 2010

Price: $16.99

1 comment:

  1. Deuker is fabulous. I am ordering two copies of this for my library because I know it will never be on the shelf!