Synopses & Reviews
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 -- and what Mitch does with it -- surprises everyone.
* "The game action alone is riveting even for readers who dont know a naked bootleg from a hook-and-ladder play, but Deuker enriches the tale with several welltuned subplots and a memorable narrator/protagonist who turns a corner on his own self-image while weathering brutal tests of his courage and determination. Definitely one for the top shelf."—Booklist, starred review
"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 Texas Lone Star 2009 list
"Riveting" —The Bulletin
"An eye-opening recommendation to all budding athletes." —VOYA
"A superb sports novel with no easy resolutions." —Kirkus Reviews Runner
A Booklist Top Ten Sports Book
A VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers
Nominated as YA book of the Year in Texas "Deuker fans won't be disappointed."—The Bulletin
"Suspenseful and involving. . . . Chance's dilemmas will quickly draw in readers and keep them turning the pages." —Kliatt "Sinister goings-on, a murder, last minute heroism, and a new life rich with possibility make this a satisfying read." —Kirkus Reviews High Heat
A Booksense 76 Pick
A Booklist Top 10 Youth Sports Book Winner of the Golden Sower Award "High Heat joins the Deuker canon with yet another fine study of a conflicted soul whose ethical salvation is determined in a sporting arena." —The Bulletin "Good baseball books are in short supply for teens; do not let this one slip past." —VOYA
An ALA Best Book (star) "An excellent novel." —School Library Journal "Deuker adds further luster to his reputation for top-flight sports writing matched to uncommonly perceptive coming-of-age stories." —Kirkus Reviews Heart of a Champion
YA book of the Year in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, and Tennessee. Paperback edition available from Little, Brown. Painting the Black
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
"The well-written sports scenes will draw readers, but it is Ryan's moral courage that will linger when the reading is done." —Booklist
In his gripping debut novel, acclaimed picture book author John Coy presents the high stakes world of high school football, where doing what it takes to win doesn't always mean doing the right thing.
When Miles Manning, a successful high school football player, discovers his teammates are using steroids--and one of them is his best friend--he's faced with a tough decision: Is he willing to do what it takes to win? Football is his life, and his family, especially his dad, is pinning its hopes on him. It's a lot of pressure for a high school junior to bear. This gripping look into the world of high school boys and athletes--and their struggle to be the best--is provocative and searingly honest.
A mystery-thriller set against the backdrop of high school football and the criminal underworld. A reporters job is to find the missing pieces, and the high school journalist Mitch True is on the verge of uncovering those pieces and nailing his first real story. If only he can get the cornerback Angel Marichal to talk. Or Coach McNulty to explain why he never allows Angels obvious talent—his speed and strength—to shine on the field. What is Angels secret? And who profits from keeping the truth hidden? In a thriller both thought-provoking and suspenseful, the award-winning author Carl Deuker shows how investigating someone elses life can lead to very unexpected discoveries.
About the Author
John Coy is an award-winning author, who worked as a dishwasher, mattress maker, and tour guide before taking up writing. He's active in sports and is a member of the NBA Reading All-Star Team as part of the Read to Achieve program. John has traveled to all fifty states as well as to many countries internationally.
His work includes Strong to the Hoop, an American Library Association Notable Book, Night Driving, a Marion Vannett Ridgway Memorial Award winner and a Horn Book Fanfare title, Two Old Potatoes and Me, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book, a Nickelodeon Jr.¹s Best Books of the Year, and a featured book on PBS Reading Rainbow, and Vroomaloom Zoom, a book of excellence on the Children¹s Literature Choice List. His newest picture book Around the World is about international basketball.
John¹s latest title is Crackback, a young adult novel that reveals the high stakes world of high school football as a young player finds himself in a difficult situation. John's experience as a defensive back on his high school football team brings an authentic voice to which readers will be able to relate. As a boy I loved playing football in the back yard and later in organized games,” says John. Football was the one place where smashing into people was not only okay, it was rewarded.”
The idea for the novel came when he wrote Strong to the Hoop. My editor for Strong to the Hoop said that the language and action convinced her that I had a novel in me and that she would like to see it when I wrote it,” John states. When I was ready to write it, the topic that grabbed me was high school football.”
John also wanted to convey his belief that it is impossible to overestimate the degree of identification some teenagers have with sports. I was such a teenager, and my choices for reading such books were much more limited than the options available today.”
John Coy writes and plays sports in Minnesota and wherever else he can join a game.