Synopses & Reviews
It's the last inning of a high school baseball game between arch-rivals Oak Grove and Compton. Center fielder Luke "Wizard" Wallace steps up to the plate--and is hit by a beanball, a wild pitch that shatters his skull, destroys the vision in his left eye, and changes his life forever.
In this riveting novel, the events surrounding this pivotal moment are recounted through free-verse monologues by 28 different voices, including those of Luke and his Oak Grove teammates; the pitcher, Kyle Dawkins, and other Compton players; the two coaches; Luke's family members and teachers; and Sarah Edgerton, a new classmate who seems more affected by Luke's injury than his girlfriend is.
With its unusual format, gripping subject matter, and economy of language, Beanball is a thought-provoking, fast-paced read.
Seth faces a strain on his friendship with Jimmy, who is both a baseball champion and something of an irresponsible fool, when Jimmy is kicked off the team.
Its the worst sound Ive ever heard in all my years of umping.
Oh, Ive heard plenty of pitches hit a helmet.
But this . . . this fastball, up and in.
This one hit bone, right in the face.
Not even a scream or grunt from the kid.
He went down like he was shot. In the bottom of the last inning against their biggest rival, Oak Grove High has two men on base and the score is tied. Luke “Wizard” Wallace is at bat, and he knows what he needs to do: drive in the winning run, save the game, and be a hero.
Luke has everything under control, except the pitch.
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.
Jimmy Winter is a born star on the baseball field, and Seth Barnam can only dream of being as talented. Still, the two baseball fanatics have the kind of friendship that should last forever. But when Seth experiences an unthinkable loss, he's forced to find his own personal strength--on and off the field.
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
An ALA Best Book for Reluctant Readers
A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Book of the Year
About the Author
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 ChoiceTexas 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 BookWinner 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." TheBulletin
"The well-written sports scenes will draw readers, but it is Ryan's moral courage that will linger when the reading is done." Booklist Carl Deuker is widely considered a "premier author of provocative YA sports novels" includingGym Candy,named a Texas Lone Star title, andRunner,a Booklist Top 10 Sports Book. His characters are high school athletes with differing abilities, ambitions, and psychological baggage, but their stories all unfold within the sports that they choose to play. Far from being just a hinge upon which to hang a plot, sports in Deuker's novels serve as a central metaphor for the complicated process of growing up. He lives in Seattle, WA, with his wife and daughter. www.membersauthorsguild.net/carldeuker