Payback Time (Paperback)
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.
About the Author
Carl Deuker is a celebrated author of “top-flight sports writing matched to uncommonly perceptive coming-of-age stories” (Kirkus Reviews). He describes his younger self as a classic second-stringer: “I was too slow and too short for basketball; I was too small for football, a little too chicken to hang in there against the best fastballs. So, by my senior year the only sport I was still playing was golf.” He was a teacher for many years in the Seattle area, where he now lives with his wife.
"Told in the first person, the story is initially funny, but the humor is soon eclipsed by the suspenseful plot and the copious play-by-play football action. These elements work together to create a rousing climax, which is then followed by a softer and more reflective denouement. Nicely played. "—Kirkus Reviews
"Deuker has crafted another entertaining and readable football story. The game descriptions are well done and will appeal to players and fans. Many teens who dreamed of being a star as children but don't make the team in high school will identify with Mitch." —School Library Journal
"A strong football story with nail-biting action and intrigue and a strong, appealing protagonist."—VOYA
"It's a solid Cooneyesque mystery/thriller, though, with enough straight-up gridiron action to draw a crowd, and it won't take much booktalking to sell middle-schoolers on this title."—The Bulletin
An IRA 2009 Young Adult Choice
A VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers
Nominated as YA book of the Year in Texas
A Booksense 76 Pick
A Booklist Top 10 Youth Sports Book
An ALA Best Book
YA book of the Year in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, and Tennessee. Paperback edition available from Little, Brown.
A Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon Winner
An ALA Best Book
(star) "It ain't pretty, but it's real." —The Bulletin