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The Penalty


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About the Author

Mal Peet (1947-2015) is the acclaimed author of the Carnegie Medal-winning novel Tamar as well as the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book Life: An Exploded Diagram and three Paul Faustino novels: Keeper, The Penalty, and Exposure, a winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. He is also the co-author of Cloud Tea Monkeys, Mysterious Traveler, and Night Sky Dragons, all of which he wrote with his wife, Elspeth Graham.


Stunning, original and compelling.
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Gr 10 Up-Mal Peet weaves past and present throughout this tale (Candlewick, 2007) of sports, voodoo, murder, slavery, and eye-for-an-eye justice. A young South American soccer prodigy known as El Brujito, or Little Magician, vanishes. His kidnappers are unaware that the boy has multiple connections with a shaman magician ancestor, a victim of the African slave trade. Sports journalist Paul Faustino becomes mired in the complexities of the boy's disappearance while investigating the murder of a fellow sports reporter and, subsequently, becomes involved with the search for the boy. Faustino witnesses the shaman's power which directly impacts the outcome of the crime. This slave, who centuries earlier made amends for travesties meted out by the plantation owner, serves justice for his descendant's misery. Christopher Lane expertly performs ethnic voices, both male and female, which helps listeners keep track of events as they quickly seesaw between present and past. There is plenty of action which might make up for some problematic transitions between story lines. Raw violence and language makes this audiobook suitable for older teens. An additional purchase.-Jennifer Ward, Albany Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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