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 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
A Junior Library Guild Selection
"Deuker creates a textured cast of parents, coaches, and teens and deftly handles themes of personal ethics, teamwork, burgeoning friendships, and coping with an abusive adult."
"A largely well-executed exploration of team spirit, friendship and the devastating impact of untrustworthy adults."
"Basketball fans will love the realistic hardwood action."
—The Horn Book Magazine
"The novel includes descriptions of many basketball plays and strategies, which should make this book particularly appealing to fans of the game."
"This is solid Deuker turf, populated by good kids trapped between conscience and goals. Expect fans to grab this title as soon as it hits the shelf."
"Short, action-packed chapters make for a quick read, but the story's underlying messages will linger. . . . What makes this story special is the careful handling of an incredibly difficult topic."
—VOYA, 5Q 4P J S
"Deuker's ability to create fully realized characters who wrestle with moral dilemmas while incorporating plenty of game action raises his novel above typical sports fiction by several notches. This one will satisfy the author's longtime fans and win him many new ones."
—School Library Journal
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.
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.
High school senior point guard Jonas Dolan is on the fast track to a basketball career until an unthinkable choice puts his future on the line.
Levi was simple, like a child. It was the best thing about him, and it was the worst, too.
When high school senior Jonas moves to Seattle, he is glad to meet Levi, a nice, soft-spoken guy and fellow basketball player. Suspense builds like a slow drumbeat as readers start to smell a rat in Ryan Hartwell, a charismatic basketball coach and sexual predator. When Levi reluctantly tells Jonas that Hartwell abused him, Jonas has to decide whether he should risk his future career to report the coach. Pitch-perfect basketball plays, well-developed characters, and fine storytelling make this psychological sports novel a slam dunk.
About the Author
Carl Deuker participated in several sports as a boy. He was good enough to make most teams, but not quite good enough to play much. He describes himself 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." Carl still loves playing golf early on Sunday mornings at Jefferson Park in Seattle, the course on which Fred Couples learned to play. His handicap at present is 13. Combining his enthusiasm for both writing and athletics, Carl has created many exciting, award-winning novels for young adults. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife and daughter.