Keeper

( 31 )

Overview

"This stirring adventure — a soccer story? a ghost story? — defies expectations. . . . Both lyrical and gripping." — KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)

When Paul Faustino of LA NACION flips on his tape recorder for an exclusive interview with El Gato — the phenomenal goalkeeper who single-handedly brought his team the World Cup — the seasoned reporter quickly learns that this will be no ordinary story. Instead, the legendary El Gato narrates a spellbinding tale that begins in the ...

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Overview

"This stirring adventure — a soccer story? a ghost story? — defies expectations. . . . Both lyrical and gripping." — KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)

When Paul Faustino of LA NACION flips on his tape recorder for an exclusive interview with El Gato — the phenomenal goalkeeper who single-handedly brought his team the World Cup — the seasoned reporter quickly learns that this will be no ordinary story. Instead, the legendary El Gato narrates a spellbinding tale that begins in the South American rainforest, where a ghostly but very real mentor, the Keeper, emerges to teach a poor, gawky boy the most thrilling secrets of the game. A seamless blend of magic realism and exhilarating soccer action, this evocative novel will haunt readers long after the story ends.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book has something for every reader, not least those who revel in excellent writing."—THE GUARDIAN — Quote

"Written with skill, humanity, and a vibrant passion for its subject, KEEPER is irresistible. . . . This is true enchantment."—TES TEACHER (London) — Quote

"Even if you hate soccer, read this superbly written book and be captivated by it."—SCHOOL LIBRARIAN (U.K.) — Quote

KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2005: This soccer novel is told in the form of an interview of El Gato ("the cat"), a legendary goalkeeper who has just won the World Cup for his team. El Gato tells how he grew up in a poor logging camp in the South American rain forest, where he says he was taught to play the game in a clearing in the jungle by a ghostly mentor he refers to only as the Keeper. At 15, El Gato must leave school to help support his family, and he reluctantly joins his father at the logging camp. There the men play soccer for recreation (and bet on the outcome), and El Gato's incredible skills are quickly recognized. A scout appears, and his rise is meteoric, but he never forgets his family and his mentor. This haunting tale is full of sports action, but it also deals with El Gato's anguished loyalty to his family and to the Keeper. An unusual and compelling sports story by a first-time novelist, this has already won awards in Britain. An ALA Best Book for YAs.
KLIATT
This soccer novel is told in the form of an interview of El Gato ("the cat"), a legendary goalkeeper who has just won the World Cup for his team. El Gato tells how he grew up in a poor logging camp in the South American rain forest, where he says he was taught to play the game in a clearing in the jungle by a ghostly mentor he refers to only as the Keeper. At 15, El Gato must leave school to help support his family, and he reluctantly joins his father at the logging camp. There the men play soccer for recreation (and bet on the outcome), and El Gato's incredible skills are quickly recognized. A scout appears, and his rise is meteoric, but he never forgets his family and his mentor. This haunting tale is full of sports action, but it also deals with El Gato's anguished loyalty to his family and to the Keeper. An unusual and compelling sports story by a first-time novelist, this has already won awards in Britain. KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Candlewick, 240p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
Children's Literature
This book, part sports fiction, part fantasy and part fictional biography has an interesting, if specific, draw to it. It begins with the interview of "El Gato," a soccer goalie who has recently won the World Cup. The interviewer, Paul Faustino, expects a run-of-the-mill interview with a world-class soccer player, but gets something much more. El Gato begins to tell Paul of his childhood in the jungles of South America, surprising the interviewer with his lack of interest in soccer as a young boy. The uncoordinated young boy is useless on his village's soccer team and finds himself spending his time in the jungle instead of playing with the village boys. It is here, in a mysterious jungle clearing that he meets the Keeper, a ghost-like apparition who begins to train El Gato to be one of the world's greatest soccer goalkeepers. This novel has mixed appeal for both fans of soccer and fans of the supernatural. At times some of the dialogue feels a bit formal or stiff, but for the most part, this is a wonderful story and an easy recommendation for some reluctant male readers. 2003, Candlewick Press, Ages 10 to 15.
—Sharon Oliver
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-When acclaimed South American journalist Paul Faustino begins his interview with World Cup soccer star El Gato, he expects to be recording the thoughts of a goalkeeper at the height of his career. He never envisioned hearing about a young, lonely boy growing up in the middle of a rain forest, who wandered upon a mysterious soccer field and an apparition that appeared to him daily and trained him to become the greatest goalkeeper ever known. Is El Gato mad? Is he suffering from hallucinations due to the stress of the game? Is there some truth to be discovered in his fantastic tale? Only at the conclusion of the interview and the resolution of who the Keeper really is and what he is waiting for will readers even think of putting down this fascinating book. Peet achieves his expressed desire "to write an entirely new kind of soccer story," not only including the experience of play, but also mesmerizing readers with a supernatural mystery in a tale about relationships, loneliness, and believing in oneself. This is a well-written, fast-paced sports story that addresses far more than just the sport itself. Fans of Chris Crutcher's sports-themed novels will want to pick up this selection by a new and talented writer.-Kathryn Childs, Morris Mid/High School, OK Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This stirring adventure-a soccer story? a ghost story?-defies expectations. Soccer reporter Paul Faustino is thrilled to have an exclusive interview with brilliant goalkeeper El Gato, whose team just won the World Cup. El Gato offers the incredulous reporter an unbelievable tale. As a child, the goalie explains, he was terrible at sports in a soccer-mad town, so he retreated to the jungle his village found frightening but he found beautiful. In the jungle's darkest tangles, he encountered a mysterious goalkeeper who drilled him mercilessly for two years. When El Gato left his secret training to become a logger like his father (against his mother's wishes, who wanted her son to go to college and become a scientist), he discovered he'd become a world-class goalie. El Gato's mystical revelations are saturated with reverence for the vanishing jungle, and his too-perfect soccer ability is tempered by the confusion of a grown man who wants a life his adored parents would not have chosen. Both lyrical and gripping. (Fiction. 12-16)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—On the surface, Mal Peet's novel (Candlewick, 2005) is a book about soccer, but the heart of the story is cloaked in mystery and addresses family, poverty, environmentalism, colonialism, spiritualism, and capitalism. Paul Faustino, a South American journalist, got the exclusive that sports writers dream about. He's interviewing El Gato, the world-renowned goalie who has just led his team to World Cup victory. But during the interview, Faustino gets much more than he bargained for. El Gato weaves a tale that begins in the jungles of his childhood and centers around a mysterious Keeper—either a ghost or the result of a madman's delusions—who trained him. Christopher Lane does a brilliant job of capturing the distinct voices of both the men in the interview setting, as well as the many characters in El Gato's memories. The novel's fast pace and mystical element, and the energy and intensity of the game play will have listeners riveted even if they are not soccer fans.—Genevieve Gallagher, Charlottesville High School, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763632861
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 2/13/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 161,163
  • Age range: 10 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.23 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Mal Peet is the author of the Carnegie Medal-winning novel TAMAR, as well the three novels starring reporter Paul Faustino. He lives in Devon, England.

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Read an Excerpt

You probably don't think this is remarkable. But if you knew the jungle, you would find it hard to believe me, because an open space in the jungle is not possible. Something, anything, will occupy any space where it can find light to live and grow. Yet here was this clearing, and it was covered in grass. Yes, grass. Short grass. Turf. Impossible. Absolutely impossible. I walked out onto this grass very slowly, far more alarmed by this clearing than by any plant or creature I had met in the jungle itself. . . .

I was in a space that was about one hundred yards long and maybe half as wide, and I had walked out of the forest at a point about halfway down its length. I looked at first to my left and saw how the clearing ended in a dense, shadowy wall of trees. Then I looked to my right. And froze.

Standing there, with its back to the trees, was a goal. A soccer goal. Two uprights and a crossbar. With a net. A net fixed up like the old-fashioned ones, pulled back and tied to two poles behind the goal. My brain stood still in my head. I could hear the thumping of my blood. I must have looked like an idiot, my eyes mad and staring, my mouth hanging open. Eventually I found the nerve to take a few steps toward this goal, this quite impossible goal. The woodwork was a silvery gray, and the grain of the wood was open and rough. Weathered, like the timber of old boats left for years on the beach. It shone slightly. The net had the same color, like cobwebs, and thin green plant tendrils grew up the two poles that supported it.

It seemed to take an age, my whole life, to walk into that goalmouth. When I got there, I put out my hands and held the net. It was sound and strong, despite its great age. I was completely baffled and stood there, my fingers in the mesh of the net and my back to the clearing, trying, and failing, to make sense of all this.

And then my fingers began to tremble, and then my legs, because I was suddenly certain that I was not alone.

______________

KEEPER by Mal Peet. Copyright (c) 2005 by Mal Peet. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 31 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    Recommended-its a good book.

    The Keeper
    I would recommend reading this book because it is very inspiring. This book is very full of joy and happy, it never losses my attention. I always hated reading but when I saw this book it was eye catching. The cover was beautiful, also the reason I read this book is because it was about soccer.
    This book was never boring it always had new things that I was not expecting. This book was about a Boy named El Gato. He was never good at soccer but then he meets a man in the middle of the jungle and he taught him how to become the best goal keeper ever. Eventually El Gato becomes the best goal keeper and wins the world championship and get the gold medal.
    This book really inspired me on not giving up because when El Gato started playing soccer he did not know how to play, matter a fact he was the worst in his whole town. His town was really into soccer and everyone played after school or work or get together in a café and watch soccer games. El Gato was never interested in playing but then when he meet this man (his name wasn¿t in it) he was very inspired on playing soccer, and eventually he became the best goal keeper.
    This book is truly an amazing book and I really enjoyed reading it. It inspired me to never give up even on things that I don¿t like. There are many things that I don¿t like out there but I know that if I try I could actually accomplish something amazing in life. This book has really touched me and I really has inspired me to do something that I don¿t like or try something that I never thought I would like. There were some moments in the book that were different from my culture and things I did not understand because El Gato and his town and family were all Mexican and all lived in Mexico.
    I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others to read. Especially people who like soccer. This book is a touching book and is very interesting and never losses interest.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    The book keeper is so exciting!!

    This book is a good book for any one who likes sports. It tells you that you can follow your dream and it might come true one day. That is more in life to find out that you can do that. I really like this book because of all the characters and every event. This book gives out many emotions like sad, sacared, excited, and many more. If you read this book it will satisfy you. This book is more then just paper it is a realistic fiction so it probaly happened to a keeper before. I'm not saying that it has, but that is amazing if it did. That is what my review is on the book Keeper.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2013

    This book is facinating and a must read for boys 12 and up who h

    This book is facinating and a must read for boys 12 and up who have some knowledge of soccar. As someone who knows nothing of soccer, I got a little lost near the end of the book when a game was being described in detail. However, most of this book is not about a soccer game. It is about a boy growing up in the rainforest of South American and then in the world of professional soccar. It is about how that boy finds himself, his talent and his passion with the help of magic. It is a short but intense read with an amazing use of words to describe people and the world around them.

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  • Posted January 17, 2013

    Keeper is a very interesting book written by Mal Peet. Mal Pe



    Keeper is a very interesting book written by Mal Peet. Mal Peet has created a very interesting story that keeps you wanting more. This book is about a boy who went from being the worst soccer player in his village to winning the world cup. The main character of the book goes by the nickname “El Gato”. El Gato lived in a small logging town in the middle of a forest. He was an ordinary kid who was tall, skinny and awkward. El Gato was not very good at soccer because of his size and also for the fact that he had large, uncontrollable feet. One day El Gato gave up on soccer because he felt that he would never be good enough to be noticed on the field. El Gato went into the forest around his village and would go for walks and look at the plants, insects, animals, etc. El Gato would go into the forest everyday and his mother knew this, so she gave him journals and books to write and draw what he saw and his experiences in the forest. One day El Gato sees a patch of light in between the trees in the forest and walks toward it only to find out that there is a soccer field on the other side. When El Gato steps into the light he sees an old soccer net and feels like time is moving in slow motion. After El Gato was finished taking in the sight a man appeared, El Gato thought it was a dream because the man seemed to move in slow motion like pictures melting into each other and did not seem to have a face.
    The book is told through the words of El Gato himself. He is being interviewed by a man named Paul Faustino after his victory of the world cup. The interview is about El Gato’s experiences growing up and how he became to be a great goalkeeper. The dialogue between the two men is very believable and sometimes makes me feel like I am in the room with them. This book really comes to life when it goes into detail about the training that El Gato went through and what the lessons end up teaching him. This book reminds me about the movie Karate Kid, in the Karate Kid the main character wants to learn how to fight and must go through a series of motions that seem like a waste of time but end up becoming his best skills during his tournament.
    This book had me reading page after page because I wanted to see what El Gato learned. The keeper was the man who had taught El Gato everything he knew. When the keeper would help El Gato train, he would teach him life lessons that apply to the soccer field also. If you are a sports fan, especially a soccer fan, this is the right book for you. This book tells about the rigorous training of the main character and how it leads up to him becoming the “world’s greatest goalkeeper.”

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2012

    I want you to tap here

    I'm the assisstant golie for my soccer team so...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    Gret book

    I totally love this book its so good im rereading it now!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2011

    nnxnxn

    this is a good book and very descriptive

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    Are you looking for a great book? Well check this one out!

    Keeper is about a kid that lives in the jungle and loves playing soccer but struggles to play soccer because he doesn't know how to play and what are the rules. Then he becomes the best goalie of the whole world. He became the best goalie by playing with a soccer ball that he found in the jungle. Well then check out KEEPER by MAL PEET. Am about to tell you a little about the book, there is a kid call EL GATO his the protagonist and there is the people that told him he couldn't play soccer and that he couldn't be the best soccer player of the world. He always used to go inside in one cave in the jungle after that
    he went more into the jungle than usual when he went inside he found a soccer ball and a goalie then a man came out of the jungle and came to him and told him be goal keeper if I make a goal we change and I will be the goal keeper. In the beginning of the book KEEPER EL GATO had won the world cup for being one of the best keepers in the world. Then Faustino was asking EL GATO how he did to be the best when he was little and what he did it was that took steps to become the best keeper of the world. Something that was going on at the middle of the book was that EL GATO was telling Faustino that if instead of putting the information into a newspaper he could put it in a book because that information (his life) he hadn't said it to nobody so it was so special and if Faustino put it on a newspaper people would just throw it to the floor but if he put it on a book people will keep it and save it.

    My favorite part of this book is when EL GATO went more deep into the jungle than usual and he found a soccer ball and a goalie. This was a good part because is like how EL GATO started playing good. EL GATO started playing good because he found a ghost so this ghost showed EL GATO how to play as a goalie. This is an interesting part of the book because I don't know if the ghost was saying the truth that his was going to help him play soccer or what if he kills EL GATO or rove him or something like that.

    As I read this book I was thinking about what was EL GATO going to tell Faustino about how he become a processional KEEPER. Teens usually connects to this book because a lot of kids have goals in life but they start from beginning until they have accomplished their goals and thats what happened to EL GATO he wanted to be a soccer player but he wasn't good but he didn't give up. He didn't give up until he became the best goal keeper of the world. This book helped me realize a lot of things about life but the thing that this book helped me realize about life the most is that sometimes you think that sometimes you can't accomplish your goals right away and that you think that you can't accomplish your goal but that you have to work hard to accomplish your goal. In my opinion I think that the theme of this book is to never give up when you have a dream or a goal. I think that this theme was clear in every part of the book or most of the beginning and some of the middle too. But the part that was the most clear was when EL GATO said "I will I never give up until I have my dream accomplish." In general this was an awesome book it was like one of the books I have never read it in my life. I will that this is one of the best book I had been reading in my life because I like soccer and this book was not a boring soccer book it was a fun.

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  • Posted August 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Superb, haunting tale

    I absolutely loved this book. It blew me away. I read it during a camping trip last week and was hooked from the first page to the last page. Mal Peet is an AMAZING writer. The plot was so original and enthralling, I couldn't put it down. The Keeper was the best part of the whole novel. The ending gave me goosebumps. This book was full of vivid imagery of the rainforest, excellent characters, and some very poignant moments. Don't pass this soccer book up!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2009

    Keeper

    This was a good book to read if you have dreams. I would say this book would inspire to follow your dream because the kid in this book did follow his dream and he was successful about it. If you do have a dream follow it because "you never know" you could be the next big thing

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  • Posted April 29, 2009

    The keeper review

    this was an excelent book. it shows how sometimes looking the other way could lead you to greatness. and if you work for what you believe in you can accomplish anything. this was an excelent book and i would reccomend it for any reader.

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  • Posted April 29, 2009

    Keeper

    I thought this book was good for the imagination, how he explains how he felt in the forest. When he explained that he gave up on soccer and then found the forest and it taught him alot, then when he met the Keeper then he finally realized what he really wanted to do. He never gave up when the going got rough when he thought that the Keeper didn't like him because he never said anything good about how he did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2009

    Amazing book

    Great book. I couldn't put down the book without finishing it .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2008

    A reviewer

    Keeper, by Mal Peet, is about a World Cup winning goal keeper. He tells his life long story and the day he met his mentor, the Keeper. El Gato, the main character, goes into the jungle everyday to learn from the Keeper. The Keeper teaches him how to be the best goalie. Eventually, he does become the best goalie in his town. Once he plays in the World Cup he thinks about giving up soccer. Will El Gato give up soccer? You will need to read Keeper to find out. What I liked about the book is it¿s about my favorite sport, soccer and I love to be goalie. It was a very fun and interesting book to read. The best part was when he played his first game. In his first game he was goalie and his team won. Then, he started playing everyday. I also liked how the author explained everyday of El Gato¿s life. The book¿s message is to always believe in yourself and follow your dreams. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes soccer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2007

    It's a 'KEEPER!!!!'

    The Keeper written by Mal Peet is a wonderful story about a boy who realizes his true potential. He fights through self doubt, but ultimatley it's his determination to be the best that he can be that wins out. The story has reminded me how important it is to believe in myself. This story has many twists and turns that you will never expect. You will enjoy every page. You will experiece every emotion from sadness to exhileration. I loved this book and so will you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2006

    Tremendous!

    I ordered this book for my high school English as a second language class, a collection of soccer fanatics with varying reading abilities. As I previewed the text I felt myself being drawn in, and though I have little interest in soccer I was hooked. This is a beautiful story that I looked forward to picking up each day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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