As the city of San Juan pulses to summers sluggish beat, its teenage soccer prodigy, El Brujito, the Little Magician, vanishes without a trace right after he misses a penalty kick and loses a big game for his team. Paul Faustino, South Americas top sports reporter, is reluctantly drawn into the mystery of the athletes disappearance. As a story of corruption and murder unfolds, Faustino is forced to confront the bitter history of slavery and the power of the occult. A deftly woven mystery flush with soccer and suspense, this gripping novel is a thrilling read not to be missed.
"Fans of Peet's first novel Keeper will note with pleasure the threads that unobtrusively link The Penalty with the earlier book. Cogently constructed and elegantly written, this latest novel is teenage fiction at its best." - The Guardian (UK).
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Mal Peet is both an author and illustrator of children's books. About writing, he says, "Like many people (I suspect) I had no real interest in children's literature until I had children of my own. It'll sound a bit evangelical, I suppose, but I truly believe that there are few things more important, useful, and protective than sharing stories with your children. After their bath, heaped into a big, deep chair, doing the voices, discussing the pictures, softening your voice as the rhythm of their breathing deepens... You start to understand why certain books work and others don't."
His first novel for young adults, Keeper, is an enthralling story of a poor and gawky kid who mysteriously becomes the world's greatest goalkeeper - a seamless blend of magical realism and exhilarating soccer...
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