Payback Time

Payback Time

Sports reporter instead of editor? Mitch isn’t sure he wants to work on the school paper his senior year, even though he’s planning to major in journalism in college. Well, he can write some great articles for his portfolio since Lincoln High is predicted to have a winning football season. And as photographer, Kimi will be with Mitch on most assignments. Maybe it’s time for him to lay off his parents’ fabulous bakery creations and start doing a little running…


When a new transfer player stays on the practice squad despite his obvious talent and the football coach won’t comment, Mitch’s reporter instincts sense a deeper story. Injuries during a crucial game bring Angel off the bench, and he leads the team to victory. But the next game, he’s riding the bench again – is he an undercover cop?


As Mitch and Kimi investigate the story, they receive anonymous threats and begin to worry for Angel’s safety. Lincoln’s football team is headed for the State playoff game, and the midnight caller promises that Angel won’t make it home on the team bus…


Full-contact football games, hard-hitting news investigations, and a cute girl who actually talks to Mitch – will everyone come through safely, now that it’s Payback Time?


Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA



Since grade school Mitch True has dreamed of becoming a real reporter--a hard-nosed investigative reporter like the ones he saw in the movie All the President's Men. At the beginning of his senior year, it is looking good that Mitch will become editor of Lincoln High School's paper. When Alyssa Hanson is named editor, Mitch nearly quits. She gives him "Sports." Who does she think she is? He is the most senior reporter on the paper--why does he get such a low-life job like sports?

Mitch almost quits, but sees an opportunity to break a story--maybe someone will get busted for steroids or maybe there'll be a huge story in football scholarships.

He teams up with school photographer Kimi Yon and together they find a story in a transfer student named Angel Marichal. Who is this mystery football player, and where did he come from? And what's his secret? Why is Coach McNulty hiding Angel's past? Could it be that the coach and the student are cheating for the championship? This could be the story of the year!

There is an underlying secret in Angel's past--a secret so dangerous that it will threaten the championship and change all their lives.

Carl Deuker not only writes for sports fans but anyone who loves a good read. Solid sports writing with a great story for the non-sports fan.

Not just for boys. Anyone who loves journalism will love this book.
Recommended for reluctant readers. Recommended for all YA collections grades 7-12.

Review provided by: Pamela Thompson, MLIS
Library Media Specialist
Visit her YA novel blog at

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Another touchdown for Deuker! This is a book guys will really like (but girls won't be disappointed either!) A good mystery with great characters and A LOT of football thrown into the mix!
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