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High Heat

High Heat

4.4 35
by Carl Deuker

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Like the game of baseball, life is quirky and unpredictable, as Shane Hunter discovers in the spring of his sophomore year. Suddenly and without warning his life of privilege is turned upside down. And just as suddenly, life begins to seem utterly without fairness or purpose to him.
Exciting, well-written sports scenes transport readers right into the stands while


Like the game of baseball, life is quirky and unpredictable, as Shane Hunter discovers in the spring of his sophomore year. Suddenly and without warning his life of privilege is turned upside down. And just as suddenly, life begins to seem utterly without fairness or purpose to him.
Exciting, well-written sports scenes transport readers right into the stands while complex issues engage their hearts and minds. For here is a novel of loss, of morality, and of the rare, redemptive power of baseball. Can speaking the truth really determine lives? Just how does one accept, move on, and begin doing the right thing?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Narrator Shane Hunter is the "closer" for his high school baseball team-the treasured pitcher whose job is to take to the mound in the crucial final innings of a game. Baseball is Shane's world, his identity ("I focus on home plate, the catcher's glove, and the ball in my hand. When that's my whole world, I'm in control"). But the sophomore's world is shaken when his father, who owns a luxury car dealership, is arrested for money laundering while he is watching one of Shane's games. In a rapid spiral of events, Shane loses his father, his upscale home, his entire world. Suddenly poverty-stricken, he and his mother and sister move into a tiny run-down apartment, and the kids must attend public school for the first time. Perhaps worst of all, he loses his love for baseball. In a pivotal moment of darkness, Shane intentionally hits a batter, putting him in the hospital. But as the story progresses, he and the injured boy work out their demons together, through the game that has meant so much to them both. Deuker (Night Hoops) fills the pages with dozens of exciting play-by-play sequences; these serve not only to move the story along chronologically, but also act as the metronome for Shane's personal story of loss, recovery and renewal. It is a dark story in the first half, but the arc of redemption reminds readers that love conquers all-as does the pursuit of personal excellence. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2003: From the author of Night Hoops and Painting the Black comes another successful sports story featuring a teenage athlete in crisis. Shane is an important part of his prep school's baseball team as the closing pitcher—he has a fastball few can hit. His comfortable life is transformed when his father is arrested for laundering money for drug lords, and further turned upside down when his father commits suicide. Shane, his mother, and little sister are now without any income. They sell their lovely home and move into public housing. Shane's mother gets a job, while Shane is transferred to the local high school and must baby-sit for his sister after school. Shane's anger and bitterness—his grief at the loss of his father—cause him to sneak out to be with some other teens in the projects: the boys steal beer regularly, get drunk, and then get into trouble. The probation officer puts Shane in touch with a no-nonsense baseball coach at the high school Shane now attends. This is a fairly complex story (longer than many YA novels) in which the main character goes through many changes from the beginning to the end. Several years pass (three baseball seasons). There are no sudden resolutions. For instance, when Shane gets a real break and a scout from a college comes to watch him play, Shane does a miserable job and the scout goes away unimpressed. The baseball details are absolutely believable, as is the slow maturation of Shane. Those who like sports stories will approve, and those who like stories of a teenager in trouble with the law will also enjoy reading this book. KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book,recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, HarperTrophy, 345p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
Shane Hunter, a sophomore and star closing pitcher for Shorelake High School, a private school near Seattle, seems to have it all, until his father is arrested for money laundering. Now his teammates and friends look at him differently. Shane thinks he has become a charity case and cannot stand it. Things get even worse after his father commits suicide in their suburban home. His mother is forced to sell the house and move the family into public housing. Now attending public school, Shane falls in with the wrong crowd and is arrested for shoplifting at a local convenience store. He is put on probation fixing up a baseball field at a boys' and girls' club. There he meets Cornelius Grandison, who Shane later discovers is the baseball coach at his high school. Coach Grandison becomes a father figure to Shane, helping him deal with his new life both on and off the baseball field and saving him from a pit of self-induced apathy for life. Deuker, author of other popular teen sports novels such as Night Hoops (Houghton Mifflin, 2000/VOYA August 2000) and Painting the Black (1997/VOYA August 1997), creates another captivating story. Readers will think they are sitting in the front row with a Cracker Jack(r) box and a Coke as Shane mows them down in the last inning. They will feel the emotions right along with Shane on the roller-coaster ride his life takes. Good baseball books are in short supply for teens; do not let this one slip past. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, Houghton Mifflin, 288p,
— Bradley Honigford
Children's Literature
The privileged life of Shane Hunter changes with his father's suicide after arrest for laundering drug money. His stealing compounds the emotional and financial difficulties he, his mother, and sister face. After performing community service, he agrees to again play ball. Pitching against old teammates, Shane's fastball, high and inside—high heat—splinters helmet and head of Reese Robertson, whose family moved into his old home. Shane and Reese eventually help each other move beyond the beaning, but when they again face each other in a ball game, Shane strikes Reese out, becomes a local hero, and captures a college baseball scholarship. Only his catcher, Benny, recognizes that, although Shane worked his way back, Reese has not, and would avoid a high inside pitch. The book ends with Benny's hope that Reese will also eventually become the player he once was and Shane's poignant personal comment that he's the same but "different, too. Entirely different." Descriptions of tight games will satisfy baseball buffs and plot will satisfy everyone. A useful book for counselors and teachers whose curriculum includes analysis of behavior: How could Shane have positively worked through problems? What signs of denial and depression does Shane exhibit in Part Two? Why does his mother like the young man Shane more than she liked the boy? How did he feel when he took advantage of Reese's fear of a second beaning? This book is a winner! 2003, Houghton Mifflin,
— Mary Bowman-Kruhm
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Shane Hunter's life of privilege disintegrates when his dad is arrested for money laundering and commits suicide. The teen, his mother, and his younger sister are forced to move out of their palatial home and into subsidized housing in a tough part of Seattle. Shane has a difficult time adjusting, and is eventually arrested for stealing beer from a convenience store. As part of his probation, he must help repair a local baseball diamond. There, he meets the coach of his public school's baseball team, who encourages him to try out. A crucial moment comes when Shane, a relief pitcher with a blazing fastball, faces the team from his old private school. His anger rises to the surface, and he delivers a fastball directly at the head of Reese Robertson, the kid whose family bought Shane's house. Reese is hospitalized, and although Shane affects a lack of concern, he is so rattled that his pitching skills deteriorate. The rest of the novel follows his attempts to get both his arm and his life back on track, and the uneasy bond he forms with Reese. Deuker avoids easy answers in the book's ambiguous but truthful conclusion. Non-sports fans may find too many game descriptions to hold their interest, but devotees will be rewarded with a story that delivers baseball action along with a rich psychological portrait, told through a compelling first-person narration.-Todd Morning, Schaumburg Township Public Library, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

“A story that delivers baseball action along with a rich psychological portrait, told through a compelling first–person narration.”
School Library Journal

High Heat joins the Deuker canon with yet another fine study of a conflicted soul whose ethical salvation is determined in a sporting arena, and once more readers are left to ponder whether a tainted success loses its sweet savor.”
“Deuker fills the page with dozens of exciting play–by–play sequences; these serve not only to move the story along chronologically, but also act as the metronome for Shane’s personal story of loss, recovery and renewal.”
Publishers Weekly

“There’s enough taut sports action here to satisfy the most avid fan.”
“[Deuker] creates another captivating story. Readers will think they are sitting in the front row with a Cracker Jack box and a Coke . . . do not let this one slip past.”

Children's Literature - Rosa Roberts
Shane Hunter seem to have it all—he is at the peak of his life, recognized for his gifted athleticism as a star baseball pitcher, attending an affluent school, or abundance of friends. Shane faces the harsh reality that nothing lasts forever that his life is unraveling before him during his sophomore year when his father is found to be guilty of criminal activity and everything that he owns and strives for is no longer a part of his life. He has to move, his mom gets a new job, and he starts to hang around the wrong crowd of friends. Will he be able to regain his baseball success and his old life back? His fall from grace due to a situation beyond or within his control Readers will be captivated with the gritty misfortunes Shane faces to try to reclaim his old life and go back to the past. This a splendid adventure read for sports aficionados and those seeking a story about redemption and determination. Reviewer: Rosa Roberts; Ages 13 to 15.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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File size:
676 KB
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Carl Deuker participated in several sports as a boy. He was good enough to make most teams, but not quite good enough to play much. He describes himself as a classic second-stringer. "I was too slow and too short for basketball; I was too small for football, a little too chicken to hang in there against the best fastballs. So, by my senior year the only sport I was still playing was golf." Carl still loves playing golf early on Sunday mornings at Jefferson Park in Seattle, the course on which Fred Couples learned to play. His handicap at present is 13. Combining his enthusiasm for both writing and athletics, Carl has created many exciting, award-winning novels for young adults. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife and daughter.

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High Heat 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book I read it at school and I just kep reading I could not stop great for any baseball fan!
Kaitlyn Gramling More than 1 year ago
I love this book its great!
SpartanReading More than 1 year ago
High Heat was a superb book! I would rate this book 5 out of 5 stars because it was interesting from the very beginning. I read almost 50 pages the very first day and that is a lot for me. High Heat was about this kid named Shane, his sister Marian, his mom and dad. Shane’s dad died very early on in the book. He committed suicide because of all his debt. After Shane’s dad died, his mom, sister and he had to move from their mansion to a duplex because they barely had any money. The 2 kids had to move from a private school called Shorelake to a public school called Whiteman. The main character, Shane was a pitcher for a baseball team and was very good. One day when he was pitching he hit a batter, Reese Robinson in the face. Since that happened Shane had a very hard time pitching. Every game he pitched he gave up lots of runs. When Reese started playing baseball again and Shane saw he was hitting normal, Shane started pitching better. I would recommend this book to my cousin Nick because he is part of Longshots witch is a fulltime travel baseball because this book is about baseball. I would also recommend this book to Nick because my cousin also pitches which is what the whole book is about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HIGHHEAT by Carl Deuker is a story about a young and talented boy named Shane Shane is going to a privet school and is on a great baseball team and he is one of the best pitchers on the team. One day at one of Shane's games police arrest his dad in the stands, and that caused Shane to have a break down. A few weeks later his dad kills himself and then he doesn't want to do anything kids start to bully him and say things about his dad to make him sad. They moved out of there house and moved into a rugged beat down apartment .he starts to make bad choices and hangs out with bad boys. His lawyer tells him to straighten up or he is going to juvie for two years for what he did with his friend. So he is going to a public school for the first time and sees a baseball field and wants to try out for the team. HE also has to do community service at the baseball field. I was shocked that when he did everything to clean the baseball field he still didn't get respect from the coach. The book tells me that you should never give up for what has happened to you that will only make you stronger. But he gets his life back around and is doing good with his mom and starts to get along with his sister more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
Shane Hunter lives a privileged life. He has a great house, a great family, and goes to a great school. On top of that he is the best closing pitcher for baseball anyone has seen in high school in a long time. But that all changes when the police show up to arrest his father. Shane's life changes quickly and dramatically. He resents his new life and starts to fall into bad habits with bad people. But there is still hope for Shane. He has a strong group of people trying to help him, he just needs to learn to let them. Baseball plays a very major role in the story and I really don't know much about it. That may have been one of the reasons I did not rate this as highly as I may have. Also, there were times Shane came across a bit wrong to me. Not incorrect wrong, but there was just something off in the way he behaved that didn't quite flow with the story. Othewise, this was a great story of dealing with life. 3/5
JGoode More than 1 year ago
The book held my interest. The story was about a kid named Hunter. He was a baseball player in high school. His father committed suicide, because he was going to get caught for drug dealing. Hunter had to move to an apartment that was not as good as his previous home. Colleges were trying to recruit him to play college baseball. Hunter decided to go to college to get an education, instead of sports. Hunter made better choices than his father, and hopefully will have a better life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
aboss23 More than 1 year ago
High Heat is a book about following your dreams and never giving up. I would recommend this book for any teenage girl or boy to read. The book is based on baseball but that doesn't mean girls won't find it interesting and it is not the only thing this book is about.. My purpose in writing this book review is to let everyone know what a great, inspirational book it was. I am also writing this to encourage people to read it. This was the first book I have read by Carl Deuker but it was a good first impression and I plan on reading more. In this book, the main character, Shane Hunter went to a private school where he was a star pitcher. He had a wonderful family, money, and a dream of going to college to play baseball. After his father died he began getting into trouble and finds himself slipping away from what he used to be, and his dream. After finding himself in an all time low in his life he decides to get back on track. There are many surprises in this book that make you keep turning the pages. This book definitely got its point across to never give up and I found it very inspirational. I encourage you all to read this book and I hope it impacts you like it did me. It was a wonderful book.
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PJ96 More than 1 year ago
The book High Heat by Carl Deuker was very different from books I have read before. Carl Deuker wrote this book with feeling and amusement in the subject of baseball. High Heat was a very well written book expressed in the first person, Shane Hunter's thoughts and feelings are heard throughout the book. I thought Shane was the perfect character to express this book because his narration tells in detail what's going on and the reader is able to have a better understanding, can follow the book and relate to Shane. Carl Deuker showed the feelings of a baseball closer who has many ups and downs in his life. I really enjoyed how Deuker wrote the book in four different parts with Shane Hunter being rich or poor, as well as going back and forth from being a great closer, to a horrible closer and finally regaining his talent as a great closer. I could really picture the events in my head. Having such a good plot, setting, and theme made this book genuine. I've decided that the next book I read will also be by Carl Deuker because of how well he writes books and how he makes fiction books seem real. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Shane is on a baseball team with his best friend Greg Taylor. He is a pitcher for his team. He really wishes his dad would come to some of his games. And when he finally goes to one of Shane¿s games he got arrested and embarrassed Shane in front of his whole team. After Shane¿s dad was arrested Shane starts to struggle at baseball. Then Shane notices his dad is acting weird and how he is not acting like himself. I liked how it had some baseball along with other strong parts. Another thing I liked about this book was it had a lot of strong parts like when Shane¿s dad is arrested or when his dad shoots himself. There are a lot more strong parts in the book also. One thing I didn¿t like about this book was that it had two parts and that made it harder to understand. The people that would like this book would be people who like baseball because it has a lot of baseball and other strong ideas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever been so hooked on a book that you couldn¿t put it down? This is the way I felt about High Heat. It demonstrates very well what it is like to be a high scholar. This book is about Shane Hunter, a junior in high school who is on a very good baseball team. He is a dominating pitcher and has it made. Then his dad is arrested for money laundering and commits suicide. His family loses everything and is placed in city housing. The house is eventually sold to Reese Roberson, who plays a very important role in the book later on. Secondly, being a junior in high school as well as a baseball player, I could relate to Shane and his struggles of every day high school and pressures that surround you. I was able to place myself in the situations in and outside of the classroom. This book was a page turner, it kept my attention and made me want to continue on to the next page just to see what was about to take place. There are a few things I would change about the book. There are unnecessary pages such as the narrator whining about his struggle and how bad Shane has it all the time. I would have placed more emphasis on what happens when he gets scholarship to play baseball and how it changes his and his family¿s life. Other than that it is by far the best book I have read in my life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being a baseball player and a High Schooler, i was instantly attracted to the cover of this story, it looked like a good baseball read. I got a lot more than that. It was a painful and heartbreaking journey through the process of losing a loved one and finding your way back into the normal life you once had. Deuker's character's are well developed. You find yourself caring about what happens to all of them and he creates a realistic and haunting portrayal of lives gone wrong and lives reconstructed. I have read all of Carl Deuker's books and this one did not dissapoint. A great read!