PAYBACK TIME by Carl Deuker


Age Range: 12 & up
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After losing the election for editor, Mitch True, an overweight aspiring journalist, is assigned to be the sports reporter for his high-school paper. He’s initially disappointed with the assignment, but he soon discovers that the gig has its perks. Kimi, the sports photographer, is beautiful, bright and brave, and, remarkably, he may be sitting on a scorcher of a story. It seems that there’s a high-school football player, a recent transfer, who is huge and amazingly talented. Yet the player is seriously underutilized, and, oddly, the coach doesn’t want a word written about him. As Mitch begins to lose weight, gain confidence and, with Kimi’s help, ferret out the mystery, he finds that he has accidentally poked his pen into a hornet’s nest. 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. (Mystery. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-547-27981-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2010


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