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On the Devil's Court

On the Devil's Court

4.1 21
by Carl Deuker

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What would you give to be your school's superstar? After reading Dr. Faustus, Joe considers the merits of selling his soul to the devil. Suddenly, he finds himself changing from a lousy basketball player and a C student to the star athlete he always dreamed he could be. Even though he isn't sure if he actually made a deal with the devil, he can't help but


What would you give to be your school's superstar? After reading Dr. Faustus, Joe considers the merits of selling his soul to the devil. Suddenly, he finds himself changing from a lousy basketball player and a C student to the star athlete he always dreamed he could be. Even though he isn't sure if he actually made a deal with the devil, he can't help but enjoy the benefits that come with his newfound abilities. But is achieving his dreams worth what he may have given up?

In this coming of age sports novel, Joe learns the power of belief and that the only goals worth attaining are the ones that you earn — on your own.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for On the Devil's Court:
An ALA Best of the Best Books for Young Adults
An ALA Best Book for Reluctant Readers
A South Carolina Young Adult Book of the Year

* "A clever blend of family conflict, superstition, and exciting sports action. Adolescent readers will empathize with the mind games that Joe plays as he struggles for self-identity and independence; teachers will delight in the literary references and analogies; and librarians will praise this fine addition to sports fiction." - School Library Journal (starred review)"

Deuker skillfully blends gritty basketball action with well-rounded characters to create a vivid contemporary morality tale." - Publishers Weekly "

A rites-of-passage portrait with an unusual twist." - Booklist

"A rare sports novel with complex plot and characterizations as well as gripping game play." - The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Carl Deuker is a teacher in the Northshore School District outside of Seattle. His novels have won numerous awards, including being selected as Booklist Top Ten Youth Sports Books, VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers, Book Sense 76 Picks, and ALA Best Books for Young Adults.

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On the Devil's Court 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A deal with the devil. What would possess someone to make one of these dark pacts? The inability to make friends, an obsession with basketball, a fight with parents? Joe Faust, the lead character in Carl Deuker's first novel, 'On the Devil's Court,' deals with all of these problems. Joe is a high school child who moves from the east coast, Boston, to the west coast, Seattle. Joe is not happy about the move, but knows that he will have a chance of attending a public school for this, his senior year, with the move to a new city. Joe goes to join the pickup basketball games at nearby Loyal High soon after moving and makes an instant friend named Ross. ONe day when returning home from a game, Joe sees his father, a geneticist, talking to reporters and soon learns that his father had won a major award. One reporter wants to interview Joe instead of his parents though, and, suddenly filled with an unexpected anger, he discusses his mother's job sculpting figures of naked men and his quarrels with his father about going to either private or public school. When the paper gets out, Joe's father discovers his control over Joe and allows him to go to a public school, Loyal High, instead of Eastside Academy. However, when Joe has a run-in with the police after getting drunk at a party, his parents change their minds and make him attend Eastside. He has trouble meeting new people at Eastside and his basketball game has taken a turn for the worse. His only escape from his parents griping about his grades and his lack of new friends is playing basketball by himself in and old gym. One day, after being influenced by the famous novel dealing with the power-hungry Dr. Faustus, Joe agrees to give his soul to the devil for a perfect basketball season, despite the fact he quit the school team after being placed on JV. Soon after, a Varsity player gets injured, so the coach bends the rules to bring Joe back. He is the hero in the first game and is placed in the starting lineup. The season goes perfectly, Joe makes friends, and his grades drastically improve. However, he is constantly worried that he may have actually sold his soul to the devil. When his father has a heart attack near the end of the season, Joe believes that the devil's price for the terrific year was his father's life. After the last game, in which the team becomes 24-0, Joe is told that his father has had another heart attack. The following events keep your emotions on a roller coaster ride as his father's condition and the state basketball tournament are in serious doubt. 'On the Devil's Court' is an outstanding novel. The reader is constantly curious about what will come next, not because of suspense but because of how entertaining each and every scene and event is. Many readers can relate to Joe's scenarios, or at least some of them, and in my case, I constantly found myself agreeing with Joe's comments because I had had similar one's in similar situations. Deuker also uses common stereotypes perfectly, especially with Joe's view of his new classmates before he gets to know them. Joe's original comments on the children were classic, but by the end Joe's relationship with them made me feel like I had a relationship with them also. Overall, 'On the Devil's Court' provides the perfect mix of high-school life, suspense, comedy, and basketball.
Pdiddojzsnapple94 More than 1 year ago
This book is great for all ages. If you like basketball this book is for you. Joe is in his senior year in high school and has to move to a new school. After reading the book "Doctor Faustus" he considers to selling his soul to the devil for one season to play like a star in basketball. His choices may not be the best but is it all worth it?
EmilyJaneEN More than 1 year ago
I thought the beginning of this book was good, but a little too much basketball for my liking. I wish there was more about his family and him selling his soul to the devil. and the ending was not good at all. there were alot of loose ends. like i said it was ok just not the best book Ive read by far.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, I first read Runner by Deuker. And I thought it was fantastic. So, when I found out I had to read another book of his, I thought thought this looked relatively good. Then, when I went to read it, it was a little slow. But by the third chapter, I couldn't put it down. My teacher even gave me a detention because I finished the book while the rest of the class was still on the seventh chapter! This book was thrilling, full of suspence, and it really makes you think about who the devil really is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a good book in that it was very detailed and that the character Joe, went from nothing good to something totally incredible.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was alright. It was written well and the basketball parts were very detailed but unless you play basketball yourself or know a lot about the game you really have trouble appreciating the work. All in all I wouldn't waste my time reading it again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
on the devils court is a great book i trully recommend specially if you like basketball joe dosn't have nothing but all of the sudden he has everything
Guest More than 1 year ago
Good book. Would read it again. It's a good story on how you have to be strong on the inside.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the book On the Devil's Court by Carl Dueker. I thougth it was okay. It is interesting how Joe plays for Varsity team and he got straight A's on the sat's and is popular. But I didn't really enjoy it. THere is no way a teenager can score 30 points a game. Most of the parts bored me but the ones that are like the scene in the empty gym where he sold his soul to the devil was exciting. It is your choice to read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so awesome! If you play, the way you feel on the court is just the way Joe feels on the court. It is unreal to be able to read what you feel for the game in a book written by someone else!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is great very hooking and suspenseful. the book is great for people 8 and up
Guest More than 1 year ago
The sciencefiction book, On the Devils Court, is outragestly suspenceful and will keep you on the edge of your seat. Joe finds himself giving up his soul for 1 season of winning. The devil has promised him he would make the team win. This book is thrilling and will make you want more. Everytime you turn the page you find sumthing more interesting. Is Joe making the right decision? Will the devil betray the trade? FInd out by reading ' On the devils Court '
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was recommended to me by a friend, I thought, just as he did, that it was great read! Very descriptive and well written, it's better if you play or like basketball. Easy to follow and well worth the 5 bucks.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a good book about a kid named joe!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very understandable for sports fans. If it is hard for you to follow basketball games, maybe you shouldn't read it. But for those of you that can, it is a great book and once you commence reading, you get hooked. At least that is what happened to me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The gym grew darker, a strange mist began to appear, and Joe sold his soul to the devil. Carl Deuker, a novel writer for young adults, did a great job on writing his first novel, On the Devil's Court, which is based on a boy putting his future in the hands of the devil. Deuker blew me away with his wild imagination. He easily made two completely irrelevant topics come together and make a great novel. Who would have ever thought to compare basketball and the devil? While comparing these two things, Carl Deuker also talked about the classical story of Dr. Faustus, an insane man who sold his soul to the devil for power. Joe Faust was a senior at Eastside Academy in Seattle. Joe was practicing basketball in an old, abandoned gym when a thick mist appeared. As the mist grew thicker, Joe made one beautiful shot after the next. It was unbelievable how well he was playing, and he was even impressed. At the time when the shots were taken, Joe's English class had been reading the classical novel of Dr. Faustus. Because of this coincidence, Joe sold his soul to the devil so he would continue to have such great luck, and so his paranoia began. As the basketball season came to an end, and all of the things that Joe sold his soul to the devil for were coming true, he began to be scared about going to hell. Joe then became extremely troubled, and he even tried to break the spell of the devil himself, but he couldn't. With all the other problems occurring in Joe's life, he didn't know how to handle things anymore, and he thought he was going crazy. I think that On the Devil's Court is the best book that I have read in a long time. Deuker's imagination makes his stories exceptionally interesting, and you can not put the book down, because his novels have many unexpected foreshadows and coincidences. Different actions would also keep occurring throughout the story, the characters were straight forward and easy to follow, and the plot of the story was something that I could relate to my own life, which made the novel even better. For example, I have a friend that thought that he had sold his soul to the devil so he would do well at a big guitar competition and meet his idol, Stevie Ray Vaughan. He ended up winning the competition, and I found this anecdote to be very ironic, because it is suprisingly similar to the whole plot of On the Devil's Court. Deuker's novel was unbelievable, and it is no wonder why this book won Best Young Adult Novel in South Carolina.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Devil's Deal Carl Deuker's On the Devil's Court was a suspenseful story about a boy's obsession with basketball and his bargain with the devil for one powerful season. The main character, Joe Faust, is an 18-year-old who has just moved to the west coast and is preparing to chose and attend a new high school. He yearns to go to Loyal High, the large public school where he knows his basketball skills will be tuned and sharpened for possible next-level playing in college. However his world famous scientist father wants Joe to go to the small private school, Eastside, which would better prepare him for Stanford. After some trouble at a drunken Loyal party, his parents send him to Eastside, but Joe still wants to succeed in basketball. After being put on the junior varsity team, Joe uses all his time to practice. One afternoon after making four or five shots in a row, Joe feels there is someone there with him. He starts talking out loud and eventually he says, 'If you give me one perfect season, my soul is yours.' Joe was talking to what he thought was the devil. In school he had been reading a book about a doctor that became famous on the devil's power, and he wanted it more than anything. Suddenly Joe has instant popularity at school, great grades, and finally feels like his parents are noticing his achievements. As each win passes, however, Joe becomes more and more anxious about his fate. When the state finals arrive, and Joe sees his team can fight and win without him, he knew that their championship was a team effort, and his hard work was what was making him the best. This was an entertaining and exciting story that had many twists and turns. It is never clearly stated that a deal had been made with the devil; it was left for the reader to decide. The negatives are limited, but the climax should be given more closure. The reader may find himself wanting to know more about how things turn out. A denouement may be in order. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks they are as competitive as Joe, because it kept me on my toes the entire time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
On the Devil's Court by Carl Deuker is not your typical sports book. It is not just a story about wins and losses, but a description of somebody's life and all the stumbling points he goes through. It still has the normal, team comes from out of nowhere to win championship, but there are other things to the book and you do not know throughout if they are going to win the championship. The main character is 18 year old Joe Faust who is forced to move from Boston to Seattle right before his senior year of high school. His father, a famous scientist, who is very strict and even though Joe wants to go to public school, forces him to go to private school. The first few weeks he has a miserable time because he has no friends, is not making good enough grades to get into Stanford (where his father wants him to go), and is even struggling in basketball the one thing he is good at. The head coach assigns him to the JV and he quits because he does not want to be a senior on JV. The story turns when one day after school he decides to go to an empty gym and shoot around. Suddenly he feels possessed and makes about ten shots in a row. After this occurrence his whole life changes. He is not only moved to varsity, but the starting guard is injured so he becomes a starter, he starts making straight A's, and becomes very popular. Once the season starts his team keeps winning with him the leading scorer. After about six games Joe starts wishing to lose because he starts thinking that he may have sold his soul to the devil in that gym. The team doesn't lose though and goes undefeated making it to the playoffs. Towards the end of the season his dad goes down with a heart attack which makes him ponder if the devil was making him pay for his season of glory. Did Joe sell his soul to the devil or did he finally just get the confidence he had been lacking? It is hard to tell. Carl Deuker makes the reader think about what they are reading and not just go through to play by play of the basketball games. Overall this is one of the best sports books around because it covers more than just the game.