Daniel True is a senior at his Seattle H.S. He dreams of becoming a journalist. When Daniel isn't voted editor newspaper, he's very surprised and disappointed. To make it even worse the new editor is making him the sports reporter. Daniel likes watching sports but he wants to cover real news.
At school everyone calls Daniel - Mitch, short for Michehlin Man, an unwanted name he got his first day of high school. Daniel accepts the new assignment as sports reporter. When He and Kimi Yon (his photographer and crush) go to football practice they notice a very talented new player, Angel Marichal. Though for some reason Angel is keeping his ability a secret. The coach isn't using Angel to his full capacity. Daniel knows something is up and is deteremined to find out what. Breaking this story might be his big break.
This is Deuker's first novel where the main protagonist isn't an athlete. It was an expected change, but there is still no denying the author's strengths. The sports action is always excellent. The reader can easily picture every play. Though Daniel isn't a player, there's still a lot of football in Payback Time.
Deuker is very good at creating main characters with some depths and expressing their internal struggles
"My gut hurt so much, I didn't even want to move, so instead of going into the house, I sat in the silent car. I'm not the kind of person who will ever make news. I'm too ordinary, and I've known that for as long as I can remember. That's why the movie about Nixon had been such a big deal to me. I could picture myself being like those reporters. I could scratch a story until I got to the bottom of it. The newsmen in Afghanistan and Iraq didn't charge into battle firing guns. They carried cameras and tape recorders and paper and pencils. Those were the tools they used to shine light into the darkness. I thought that someday I'd be brave like them. But tonight I hadn't had the courage to keep my fist clenched around a set of keys."
Daniel and Kimi work very well together. The author also shares some of Kimi's past and goals. The revelation of Angel's secret fell a little short for me. Though, Daniel more than makes up for that. I highly recommend Payback Time, its out now just in time for football season. ages 12up
It's almost time for baseball playoffs. If you missed it do check out 9 Authors, 12 Questions I posted back in April . Deuker was kind enough to hold down the catcher's spot with Painting the Black.