Ken's Reviews > Payback Time

Payback Time by Carl Deuker
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's review
Aug 04, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: finished-in-2010, ya
Read from August 04 to 06, 2010

A lot of boys are reluctant readers, tough nuts to crack for parents and teachers who want their kids to read more. Many of these boys are into sports, too -- some merely as fans, and others as actual players. If you know a kid like this and you don't know about Carl Deuker, you should familiarize yourself with Deuker's growing work. He's good at what he does, and what he does is chiefly sports, often with a secondary plot that goes beyond sports.

PAYBACK TIME follows the familiar Deuker formula. Like GYM CANDY, it is centered around high school sports. Like RUNNER, it contains elements of mystery. Together these elements keep you reading as you try, along with the protagonist, to figure out what's going on.

For this book, Deuker forgoes choosing a player for his protagonist and instead employs Dan "Mitch" True, the Lincoln High School sports reporter. He got the name "Mitch" from initially being called "Michelin Man" due to his weight (no doubt, he grew "tired" of it, too). Mitch has noticed this highly-talented player named Angel Marichal who is used infrequently but when necessary by the ambitious Coach McNulty. When Mitch and his cameraman sidekick Kimi Yon ask for an interview and pictures, both Coach and Angel refuse.

Suspicions aroused, Mitch and Kimi start to do some digging into Angel's past. What they learn is disturbing -- but more disturbing still is that they are not getting all of the story. As his heroes are Woodward and Bernstein of Watergate fame, Mitch wants to go to press, but going to press has consequences. And that's where the pigskin hits the artificial turf in the case of this book -- consequences.

Deuker has a way of writing football action that never gets old. It's what he does well and football-crazy boys especially will love it. Wisely, he never writes a sports-only book, but adds depth with other elements -- here the journalism angle. And though I have to steal a star for ending's suspect credibility, I know that, overall, this will score big with Deuker's fans and with those new to him. When you think YA and you think sports, Deuker is your go-to guy in the red zone. That's all there is to it.
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06/01/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Stephen (new) - added it

Stephen I've been waiting for this one to come available on a swap site. I know it will be a while. I liked his Heart of a Champion about baseball and On the Devils Court about basketball. Both good reads for young male readers. They incorporate great sports action detail and otherwise interesting plots as well.

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