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Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 10 up.
Soccer and suspense are combined in this intriguing story set in San Juan. Elements of the supernatural and the occult add to the intense drama. Ricardo de Barros is a teenaged professional soccer player who faithfully believes that ancient spirits guide and judge him. When de Barros mysteriously disappears after missing a penalty shot at an important game, the sports community is perplexed. Members of the small community where de Barros grew up, however, suspect that supernatural forces may be responsible. South America's leading sports writer, Paul Faustino, unwillingly becomes involved in uncovering the truth, and the truth consists of greed, corruption, and rituals that stem from South America's history of slavery abuse. Maco is one of the names given to a misused young slave who survives numerous cruelties and grows into a respected man whose strengths and powers are revered centuries later. Faustino is skeptical at first, but it appears that Maco may have played a significant part in the young soccer star's strange disappearance. Mal Peet is a talented author who unravels a captivating tale that brings South American history into the 21st century. Reviewer: Denise Daley