Books by Mal Peet

Released: March 13, 2018

"A lightweight quest with a climactic surprise. (map) (Picture book. 5-7)"
A treasure map doesn't specify all the hazards on the way to a pirate's hoard. Read full book review >
BECK by Mal Peet
Released: April 11, 2017

"Heartbreaking, hopeful, and inspired. (Historical fiction. 14-adult)"
Beck escapes institutional violence and discrimination and mends his spirit through lonely travels across the 1920s Canadian prairie. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"Bitter and frothy as a pint of stout, this formula-thwarting satire will intoxicate fantasy fans with strong stomachs."
An award-winning author whose young-adult novels have gone out of fashion makes a Faustian bargain with a Hobbit-like creature in this broad, darkly hilarious sendup of high fantasy and publishing. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 14, 2014

"This dazzling, heartwarming story excites, soars and redefines 'go fly a kite.' (author's note) (Historical fiction. 4-10)"
Carnegie Medal winner Peet and Graham team up again (Mysterious Traveler, illustrated by P.J. Lynch, 2013) to tell the tale of how a boy with a mischievous streak and love for handcrafted kites helps keep his han, his home along Asia's Silk Road, from danger.Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 8, 2013

"A sumptuous, memorable tale of family ties. (author's note) (Novella. 7-12)"
An old man, wise to the life of the African desert, finds a treasure. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2011

"Sophisticated teens and adults will appreciate this subtle yet powerful exposition of the far-reaching implications of war. (Fiction. 14 & up) "
A coming-of-age story framed by some of the most terrifying events of the last 60 years, from World War II to 9/11. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2010

Tea, labor-intensive to harvest, is a precious commodity, but wild-growing cloud tea, found only in the highest, dangerous-to-reach mountaintops, is the most prized of all in this lyrical story based on a Chinese folktale. Readers are transported to an unnamed past and place (identified in the author's note as the Himalayan region) where Tashi's mother becomes too sick to pick tea, and Tashi and her "cloud tea monkeys" save the day. The poetic text is vividly descriptive: "…a light the color of lemons was soaking into the sky and painting out the stars." The deftly spun, emotionally resonant fairy-tale story—with its repulsive, mean plantation Overseer and at-first-intimidating Royal Tea Taster, who delights in Tashi's impossible harvest—begs to be read aloud. No design detail is overlooked, from the gorgeous cover (and its glossy, raised, curling, monkey-shaped tea steam) forward. Wijngaard's elegant, exquisitely etched gouache-and-ink illustrations of both characters and landscapes are splashed across spreads or framed on cream-colored paper with subtle geometric borders. Unlike cloud tea, an accessible treasure. (authors' note) (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >
EXPOSURE by Mal Peet
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

In a nameless South American country, soccer reporter Paul Faustino again finds himself in the midst of an unexpected story. Peet drops the magical realism and sense of history displayed in Keeper (2005) and The Penalty (2007) for something more topical and downright Shakespearian. Fame—and diabolical manager Diego—threatens the love between black soccer star Otello and beautiful, white Desmerelda. Meanwhile, street kid Bush tries to keep his lovely, fame-obsessed sister safe from the forces, criminal and not, preying on the poor. Far more than a retelling, this contains a deft study of class played out through the intertwined stories, a reflection on race and a study of how the masses are opiated (with soccer and beauty), linked by Faustino's keen observations. It adds up to a wonderful read. The author employs dramatic devices (a cast of characters; script-formatted dialogue) as homage to Othello. Faustino comes across as an insightful reporter but lacks some of the nuance he showed in his previous adventures; ironically, that might just make this more accessible to teen readers. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

More Latin-American magic realism from Carnegie winner Peet. Billed as a companion to The Keeper (2005) and featuring some of the same characters, this can be read independently and tackles deeper emotional territory. When teen soccer star El Brujito disappears, sports reporter Paul Faustino finds himself drawn in to the mystery against his better judgment. A second narrative concerns the life of a slave who became a priest of Veneration (a compelling but imaginary ancestor worship faith); the two threads come together seamlessly in the climactic showdown. El Brujito's disappearance is steeped in real-world corruption as well as the supernatural, providing a deft balance. Peet's language is beautiful and assured, with flashes of sardonic humor from Faustino as well as a sense of poignancy and heartbreak in the first-person slave narrative. The lack of YA perspective may initially deter some readers, but Faustino's journey from skepticism to reluctant belief provides a genuine access point, and any reader who starts this astounding novel will be hard-pressed to put it down. Stunning, original and compelling. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
TAMAR by Mal Peet
Released: Feb. 1, 2007

In 1944, Dart and Tamar, code names for two undercover operatives for Britain's Special Operations Executive, parachute into Holland to reorganize the Dutch resistance movement. In 1955, a 15-year-old British girl named Tamar receives a box from her grandfather who has committed suicide. In it are clues to her grandfather's past and her own identity, but she must go on a journey to make sense of the clues. In Peet's Carnegie Medal-winning work, he tells the interwoven stories of Tamar the spy and Tamar the teenager in beautifully visualized episodes. Meticulously crafted scenes develop this long, complex and elegant work that is both a historical novel and a reflection on history—how a young girl's life has been shaped by a past she never knew. Readers will be torn: They'll want to slow down and savor the gorgeously detailed prose, but speed up to find out what happens next. Simply superb. (notes, acknowledgments) (Fiction. YA) Read full book review >
KEEPER by Mal Peet
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

This stirring adventure—a soccer story? a ghost story?—defies expectations. Soccer reporter Paul Faustino is thrilled to have an exclusive interview with brilliant goalkeeper El Gato, whose team just won the World Cup. El Gato offers the incredulous reporter an unbelievable tale. As a child, the goalie explains, he was terrible at sports in a soccer-mad town, so he retreated to the jungle his village found frightening but he found beautiful. In the jungle's darkest tangles, he encountered a mysterious goalkeeper who drilled him mercilessly for two years. When El Gato left his secret training to become a logger like his father (against his mother's wishes, who wanted her son to go to college and become a scientist), he discovered he'd become a world-class goalie. El Gato's mystical revelations are saturated with reverence for the vanishing jungle, and his too-perfect soccer ability is tempered by the confusion of a grown man who wants a life his adored parents would not have chosen. Both lyrical and gripping. (Fiction. 12-16)Read full book review >