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Keeper (Paul Faustino #1)

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  1,448 Ratings  ·  267 Reviews
"This stirring adventure — a soccer story? a ghost story? — defies expectations. . . . Both lyrical and gripping." — KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)

When Paul Faustino of LA NACION flips on his tape recorder for an exclusive interview with El Gato — the phenomenal goalkeeper who single-handedly brought his team the World Cup — the seasoned reporter quickly learns that this
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 13th 2007 by Candlewick Press (first published October 6th 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,899)
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Karina Espinoza
Apr 25, 2008 Karina Espinoza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You may think this book is predictable but you’re in for a rude awakening. Keeper is an amazing story told by “El Gato” himself and his story of the mysterious keeper. It is an excellent gratifying soccer adventure with drama. This book contains easy to read material but enjoyable. If you ever thought you weren’t able to do something then this book is an inspiring self confident motivating inspiration. This book will leave you with a jaw dropping surprise at the end.
The author portrays the char
Jun 02, 2009 Adele rated it really liked it
I am not, and will not ever be, a soccer buff - but this book gave me an appreciation for the game that I definitely did not possess beforehand. Peet has written a novel that weaves mysticism and football into one package that takes surprising turns.

Alternating between current day and El Gato's childhood, the reader is taken on a journey from his knobbly kneed, talentless beginnings to his World Cup winning present. It's a vivid journey, one where every event is written in action packed detail t
Feb 28, 2012 Peter rated it it was amazing
Before I go into the details of this review I feel it ought to be said that I have been a football/soccer goalkeeper for just about 16 years now - come to think of it that's half of my life! I was browsing casually for football related literature and amidst the pool of typical football "oldstar" biographies "Keeper" by Mal Peet stood out.
The first thing I noticed about it was its fiction nature, the second that it was given the tagline of a "book for adolescents".
To my utmost shame I have to adm
Nov 03, 2011 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this young adult novel for my daughter to read, but ended up reading it myself. It's quite an unusual story. Keeper is set up as a first-person narrative by El Gato, the nickname of the world's greatest soccer player. He is being interviewed by a journalist named Paul Faustino. El Gato relates his boyhood journey and transformation into an almost supernaturally gifted goalkeeper. Faustino is skeptical and wonders if he's being lied to.

It is a strange tale. El Gato is the son of a poor logg
Courtney Johnston
May 24, 2010 Courtney Johnston rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed
What the little snippet in Goodreads about this book doesn't tell you is that it's a really quite weird mixture of sports story and supernatural mystery, with a bonus ecological message. All of which sounds like a lot to swallow (as does the description of Pett's even-better 'Exposure' when described as a retelling of Hamlet in the context of contemporary celebrity culture and lingering racism) but 'Keeper' is an engrossing read.

The book opens with El Gato - keeper for the team that has just won
Benji Boy
Sep 09, 2013 Benji Boy rated it it was amazing
i decided to read the book Keeper by Mal Peet because i really enjoy reading sports fiction, most soccer.

The category on the bingo board this book is under is 'A book that teaches you about a culture other than your own' it told you about how different it was to grow up in poor places like the ones in south america and how education wasn't the main priority. Also it shows how the people over there had to live, and there jobs were a lot harder then the jobs here but get a lot less money for it.

Nov 20, 2008 Soros rated it it was amazing
The book review

The author of Mal Peet of the keeper, this story is about this boy who is about to get an opportunity of a lifetime. This boy is around 15 year old whose father works as a logger. Then one day he plays soccer in the plaza in town and one position was opened it was a new era in his life. After he arrived from a cruel day of soccer, he found a feeling to go in the forest and came across this clearing and saw a raggedy beat up net and saw a man standing there…

The keeper is a fantasti
Aug 17, 2011 Molly rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up at my local library, interested by the name and the cover. Being a goalkeeper myself, I was curious as to what the book was about. I really enjoyed it and I thought the author did a wonderful job describing what went through a keeper's mind when they are in the net. He captured the emotion of El Gato very well. I know what it's like to be frustrated when you don't block a shot, or when your coach or "mentor", so to speak, gets mad and yells at you. I really related to this ...more
Jake F
Jan 09, 2015 Jake F rated it really liked it
I never really liked soccer because I thought it was lame and they acted too much. I was more of a football, basketball and hockey fan. I hated watching soccer whenever I did because I thought it was boring. My friend told me to read this book called Keeper about a legendary soccer goalie. I feel that goalies get the most action in a game and I like sports books, so I gave it a shot. The book was written in a weird way but still effective with its meaning.
The main character is El Gato and he wa
Lynda Schmidt
Feb 05, 2014 Lynda Schmidt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-s-books
Loved it! I had read this initially several years ago and it had stayed with me so much so that I sought it out for the reading group. Well worth a second read. The writing and the message are both beautiful and it was great fun to do as a reading group with some highly interested athletes from my class. I learned a lot more about soccer as well. Bonus. The structure of the novel, told mostly in flashbacks, allowed for interesting discussions in group and offered more challenge for the readers. ...more
Catherine  Mustread
Oct 20, 2009 Catherine Mustread rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catherine by: #3 winner of Guardian Children's Prize
Read this because the third book about South American journalist, Paul Faustino, Exposure was recently awarded the Guardian Children's Prize. I found this to be a great literary sports story about how a gawky young boy becomes one of the greatest soccer players in the world. The supernatural aspect adds mystery and magic to this otherwise realistic novel. Although a bit slow starting, author Mal Peet adeptly deals with life choices, relationships, loneliness and believing in yourself while engro ...more
Tom Kirkland
Jun 30, 2011 Tom Kirkland rated it it was amazing
I chose Keeper as a book to read when my friend recommended it to me.

This book fits into my bingo board on the space book with a male main character.

I like this book because it is about soccer which meant i could relate to it. The book is set in the early 1990s. It is about a young boy who is living in a small town on the outskirts of spain. The boy likes to play soccer with his friends in a small dirt courtyard but he isn't very good. When the boy wanders into the local forest he comes to a sma
Jun 12, 2010 Francisco rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 10th-grade
In this book the main character "el gato" is a famous soccer player that has succeeded his dream in winning the world cup. He in this book is giving a exclusive interview to a paper to publish on his thoughts of the world cup. He was said to be very poor and didn't have a very good life. Everything he did was a struggle yet he survived to tell the tale of his life. When he was young he was usually sent to work with his father to cut down trees and work in the jungle. Life was hard and everything ...more
Jonathan Linfield
Dec 22, 2008 Jonathan Linfield rated it liked it
Shelves: quater-one


Mal Peet

PP 240 New York

Candlewick Press 14.99


Jonathan Linfield


903 D


You open the book, you think about the book is going to go a different way. But then everything changes. You get into the book. You can’t get enough of it so you never put it down. You start to imagine your in the shoes of “El Gato” the soon to be world cup soccer goalie. You start thinking about your life and how it might go for you. You start to think maybe I can reach my goal but not th
Carter Richardson
Jan 10, 2011 Carter Richardson rated it really liked it
The book Keeper by Mal Peet is a story about a soccer goalie who is from the forests of Puerto Rico. The whole book is an interview by a famous journalist of the time, Paul Faustino. Were he is from everyone plays soccer and only soccer, but not him. WHen he played soccer as a little boy, in the plaza, he didn't enjoy it as much as he did exploring the surrounding forest. On most days (while the other children were playing soccer in the plaza, the boy would be walking through the forrest explor ...more
This extraordinary book grabs you from the first paragraph and doesn't let go until the final page.

It's unusual for me to read a sport related book, and even more unusual for me to read a book about soccer. But his is more than just a book about soccer. This is the story of a young, awkward man, who plays soccer so badly that he doesn't even get put in goals. H eis the village joke. Disillusioned and bored he wanders further and further into the South American jungle near where he lives, and whe
Mar 11, 2009 Max rated it it was amazing
Keeper is thrilling story about a champion soccer player and his past. The story starts when Paul Faustino, a sports reporter, interviews the current number 1 in soccer. El Gato starts out with saying that he was not always a great player but was called the stork for his tall and skinny built. One day El Gato goes into the forest behind his house to find a small clearing with nothing but a goal, Suddenly a darkfigureappears and points at the goal and says "you belong here" For the next few years ...more
Jun 18, 2016 Nova rated it really liked it
Even though I'm not much of a sports nut and don't read fantasy I had heard so many great reviews and finally sat down to read it. It's a great story; very well-written. The 'fantasy' elements didn't spoil the story for me as it was mostly a narrative of a reporter interviewing a soccer star who had won the Soccer World Cup for Brazil.
May 29, 2011 Julie rated it liked it
Recommended to Julie by: Alex
El Gato, the World Cup-winning goalkeeper, sits down for an exclusive interview and starts from his beginnings in a poor logging village. There, as in much of the world, soccer is the all-consuming activity, but instead he spent much of his time exploring the surrounding rainforest. So far the story is fairly realistic, but it takes a big turn into magical realism when Gato stumbles upon a perfect soccer pitch in the middle of the forest and meets the ghostly Keeper, who becomes his mentor. The ...more
Oct 26, 2009 David rated it it was amazing
Keeper is about the world's greatest goal keeper's life story. He is interviewed by South America's most prominent reporter, Paul Faustino. El Gato, the goal keeper, sits down with Faustino shortly after winning soccer's most prestigious award, the Fifa Cup. El Gato tells Faustino about his life and how he trained when he was younger. He talks about the long hours he spent training with a mysterious man in a cleared part of the forest. I would suggest this book for anyone, even if they are not s ...more
Jul 31, 2011 Jen rated it really liked it
This was quite an intriguing novel. Set in South America somewhere, it tells the story of El Gato, The Cat, a young soccer player who was key to his Italian team winning the world cup. He tells a journalist how he came to be so good at soccer and how his skills helped his team to the ultimate prize. But his story is more than just a soccer story. As he tells it, he was coached by a ghostly presence to become the best Keeper in the world. The presence is finally revealed to be the star keeper of ...more
Tatjana Ravnik
Aug 24, 2012 Tatjana Ravnik rated it it was amazing
The analysis of goalkeeping and futbol absolutely captured my attention. Descriptions seems almost lyrical with a air of spirituality and grace. At one point the movement of the panther is compared to the graceful movement of a goalkeeper reaching for the ball, twisting and landing while protecting himself and the ball. I couldn't decide if I wanted to turn on the TV and watch a World Cup qualifying match or go outside and kick the ball around. It certainly gave me a whole other appreciation for ...more
Feb 26, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. I have ZERO interest in soccer, and not much more in the South American rain forest, and I still loved this story. Mal Peet's writing is clear and understated. He makes soccer meaningful and comprehensive for even an athletic avoider like me. (I took a book with me, just in case, the one time my husband took me to a professional soccer game.) Yet the interactions between his characters always ring true. This is a book I would recommend to anyone, especially a teen age boy. A book abou ...more
Aug 05, 2016 Hannahlily rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
A very strange little book, mystical and other-worldly, poignant and beautiful. I know nothing about soccer but thought the games were some of the most suspenseful scenes I've read. I also know little about the rain forest but thought the setting was fascinating. Definitely my favorite of Mal Peet's novels I've read so far.
Dec 01, 2009 Agnes rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This is a very interesting story. I felt that the first couple of pages weren't really interesting, but later on it really became a page-turner. I can't stand really slow books, and if the book I'm reading is slow until around 5-10 chapters into the book, I just stop reading. With this book, I thought the story was enrapturing. It is for those who like sports, especially soccer, but I would push others to read it because this story really brings you into it. I could imagine everything in the boo ...more
In a newspaper office, Paul Faustino, South America's top football writer, sits opposite the man they call El Gato "the Cat", the world's greatest goalkeeper. On the table between them stands the World Cup. In the hours that follow, El Gato tells his incredible story – how he, a poor logger's son, learns to become a World Cup-winning goalkeeper so good he is almost unbeatable. And the most remarkable part of this story is the man who teaches him: the mysterious Keeper, who haunts a football pitc ...more
Apr 19, 2012 Elliot rated it liked it
I thought that it was an alright book. Through out the book an until the end I was considering this to be a five star book but the final chapter pulled a twist and it kind of ruined the plot for me. Despite the ending, the book kept me reading and it was actually fun to read in my free time. I would reccomend this book to about 7th grade people and up considering the violence and some harsh language. So overall I would rate this book a 3 out of 5 fro readers my age because the beggining and midd ...more
Haley B
Sep 04, 2016 Haley B rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aleander Libasci
Sep 01, 2016 Aleander Libasci rated it really liked it
Paul Faustino is interviewing El Gato about his recent World Cup win. El Gato tells Faustino about his teenage years and his entry into soccer. El Gato tells Faustino that he is coached by a ghost known to El Gato as "the Keeper." As a teenager, El Gato secretly trains with the Keeper in an abandoned soccer field hidden in the rainforest. His family takes him for a naturalist because El Gato said that he goes to the rainforest in fascination. This continues until El Gato turns 15, when he is exp ...more
First i decided to read the book because i have always been in love with the game especially admire those who are goal keepers because they have one of the hardest jobs in the team and must be at the top of there game every single min that they on the field. From the moment they step into it at min 0 until the game finishes at min 90+. This book starts off as a story like any other famous soccer player who starts off poor and through hard work and determination they are able to reach the top of ...more
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Mal Peet grew up in North Norfolk, and studied English and American Studies at the University of Warwick. Later he moved to southwest England and worked at a variety of jobs before turning full-time to writing and illustrating in the early 1990s. With his wife, Elspeth Graham, he had written and illustrated many educational picture books for young children, and his cartoons have appeared in a numb ...more
More about Mal Peet...

Other Books in the Series

Paul Faustino (3 books)
  • The Penalty (Paul Faustino, #2)
  • Exposure (Paul Faustino, #3)

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“Fast unmittelbar darauf sandte der Dschungel seine schlanken grünen Finger auf die Fläche die Gato velassen hatte, und tastete nach neuen Stellen, wo er wachsen konnte.” 1 likes
“Let me tell you something. When there is a penalty kick, most people think that the penalty taker is in control. But they are wrong. The penalty taker is full of fear, because he is expected to score. He is under great pressure. He has many choices to make, and as he places the ball and walks back to make his run, his mind is full of the possibility of failure. This makes him vulnerable, and it makes the keeper very powerful.” 0 likes
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