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Posted February 2, 2008
A fascinating blend of history and mystery. . .and in a class by itself.
Mal Peet is proof that YA is not synonymous with unsophisticated. The Penalty is worthy of attention from a variety of reading circles. Part suspense, part historical fiction, and part fantasy, this story chronicles the abduction of the soccer protégé, Ricardo Gomes de Barrors, known as El Brujito (the magician) to his fans. Sports writer, Paul Faustino, is covering another story, but becomes embroiled in the intrigue when one of his journalist colleagues is murdered, and then when he, himself, is abducted in an effort to gain publicity and freedom for El Brujito. The plot moves quickly, although the story changes perspective between Faustino and the El Brujito¿s ancestor. Woven into the story is the historical background of slave trading and holding that took place in South America¿a little known historical tidbit. While not exactly a sequel to The Keeper, one of Mal Peet¿s heavily awarded earlier books, this stand alone story continues to follow Paul Faustino¿s treks. Given how much I enjoyed the story, I am mightily tempted to read the first couple of books by this author. Students who enjoy the supernatural, voodoo, intrigue, or sports will enjoy this. History teachers might find this an excellent book for excerpts that would be a great catalyst for any discussion about human rights and slavery.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.