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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Payback Time

I think most people can name an author who made a difference in his or her “reading life”. For my oldest son that would be Carl Deuker. My son was a good, but slow reader who turned into a reluctant middle school reader. The book that changed that was High Heat by Carl Deuker. My son loved baseball and could totally connect to the story. He then wanted to read other books by Mr. Deuker. Interestingly enough, I was able to correspond with Mr. Deuker when I created an author study of him for my Library Science Young Adult Literature class. His advice to new librarians was to help students find the right book for them. Carl Deuker’s latest book, Payback Time, is on the Texas Lone Star 2011-12 reading list. It is as much about football as it is about journalism. The narrator of the story is talented high school reporter, Daniel “Mitch” True, who aspires to attend Columbia University when he graduates from high school. Mitch struggles with self esteem issues, because he is overweight and has been ridiculed in the past. After being passed over for the school newspaper’s editor position, Mitch becomes the sports reporter. One perk that comes with the new position is working with the school photographer – beautiful, smart Kimi Yon. While reporting about the high school football team, the pair’s inquisitive nature produces a lead story that will put them and others in grave danger. Who is the talented new football player named Angel Marichal? Why doesn’t Coach McNulty, who wants an undefeated season, play the best player on his team? Why does Angel look older than his age and where are his school records from the past? This quick page-turner will prompt readers to create their own theories as to what Angel’s past means right up until the very end. Other great books by Mr. Deuker include Gym Candy, Runner, High Heat, Heart of a Champion, and Night Hoops.

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