Payback Time by Carl Deuker,Reviewed by Cody Adkins

Payback Time by Carl Deuker


Through the eyes of a distinctly non-athletic protagonist-a fat high school journalist named Mitch-veteran sports novelist Deuker reveals the surprising truth behind a mysterious football player named Angel.When Angel shows up Lincoln High,he seems to have no past-or at least not one he is willing to discuss.Though Mitch gets a glimpse of Angel’s incredible talent off the field,Angel rarely allows himself to shine on the field.Is he an undercover cop,Mitch wonders?Or an ineligible player?In pursuit of a killer story,Mitch decides to find out just who this player is and what he’s done.In the end,the truth surprises everyone.

What would it feel like to be the leading sports writer of a school?What would it feel like to reveal the truth of a suspicious football player?These are the ideas presented in Carl Deuker’s book Payback Time,which goes to no means in revealing the truth.Set in Seattle,mostly on the football field,the novel tells a story of a overweight high school journalist named Mitch who is going all out to find out the truth about a suspicious and sneaky football player named Angel.He will do anything to show the school that he is the leading writer and prove to himself that he is number one.There are many obstacles in his way,but Mitch never gives up in his pursuit for justice.While I enjoyed the entire book,I most enjoyed the themes,setting,and vocabulary that it included.

I enjoyed the themes presented in this novel,and I think some of these themes can relate to people in this world.Mitch True,the protagonist in this book,is really a person that wasn’t recognized in school.He was just an ordinary sports writer for the Lincoln Light and he was hardly noticed.For example,he was short and was made fun of because of his weight.That changes when Mitch is on the football field interviewing some players.He notices a new face on the practice field,but he is allowed no access to him.Mitch does whatever it takes to find out about this secretive player and what his background is.I really liked what the author did to make Mitch fight and not give up in seeking the truth.

The setting was a second element that I really enjoyed in this novel.Like most sports fiction books,the setting is usually on the football field.I thought the setting was very appropriate because being a sports journalist,you have to write about all of the football games and it is where most of the book takes place at.Another example of the setting would be that most of the interviewing happens there and it is where Mitch gets all of the news from.In my opinion,I really liked the setting of this book because it relates to me in a good way.I like sports and I thought the football field was a great setting all together.The football field is one of the few settings that most of the people in this world can really relate to and experience for themselves.

The third element of the novel that I most enjoyed was the vocabulary of the novel.I thought the vocabulary was suitable and mature for young adults and in no way I thought the language of this book was written in a childless way.For example,”It was fourth down and forever,with everything on the line.The quarterback dropped back to pass as his receivers streaked down field.With the pocket collapsing behind him,he stepped up and fired a long pass toward the end zone.The ball spiraled through the chill night air for what it seemed like an eternity,and then…”This quote was from Mitch’s newspaper article for the Lincoln Light.I thought this was a good quote because it shows Mitch’s talent for writing and how he can make the ordinary sound extraordinary,which leads him on an exciting quest to find the truth.

Overall I really enjoyed the novel.In my opinion,I liked how the book was about sports and it was a real good fit for me.I would certainly recommend this book to young adults who like novels about sports and journalism,and anything sports fiction.Any reader who loves football and a book about revealing the truth,then this book is defiantly for you.I would not recommend this book to people who don’t like sports or anything sports related.Mitch True is certainly a brave and well spoken person who fights for the truth.In my opinion,with its strong theme,cool setting,and mature vocabulary,Carl Deuker has created a winner in his book Payback Time.

Written by Cody Adkins


8 responses

  1. Cody, I think you are on to something here! I have a few comments I think will help you improve your review:

    -Make sure you put your summary quote in quotations and that it stands out from the rest of your review. (maybe put it in bold)
    -You’re missing a lot of spaces throughout your piece, after commas and periods. For example: “h.In my opinion,with its strong theme,cool setting,and mature vocabulary,Carl Deuker has created a winner in his book Payback Time.”
    -I LOVE your intro, it really grabs the reader!
    -I liked your paragraph on themes, I think it would be a good time to add another quote from the book. Is there any place where Mitch says or thinks something about never backing down?
    -I really like that you added a quote from Mitch’s writing, very good touch.
    -In the second paragraph, you have: “a overweight.” Make sure to change that to “an overweight.”
    – In your final paragraph you use “defiantly,” which is different than the word “definitely,” the word I think you meant to use!

    Overall, this is looking to be a solid piece of writing! I can’t wait to read your next draft and hopefully my comments lead you in a good direction!

    1. Dear Kristen, thanks for the helpful tips and suggestions. I saw where you pointed out some of my grammar mistakes such as misspelling “definitely” and using a instead of an. I made sure on my next book review that I had no grammar mistakes or misspelled words. I was so glad to hear that you liked my introductory paragraph. Mrs. Baisden has told us to make good introductory paragraphs and I was glad to see that I did a good job. I was wondering on how I could use more direct quotes in my writing to make it sound better. Again, I’m glad that you liked it and thanks for the suggestions.

      Cody Adkins

      1. Cody,
        I’m glad you found my advice helpful! Those spelling and grammar mistakes were just silly ones that we all make, don’t fret over them. A way that I normally catch mine is, right before turning in your assignment, make sure you sit down and read it aloud before printing out or sending in the final copy. Sometimes we can hear our spelling and grammar mistakes more easily than we can read them. (My biggest problem is normally something similar to: “Sally and John went went to the store to buy some fruit.” <—- Word spelling and grammar check doesn't catch things like this and I normally only catch it when reading aloud.) Try it out next time and let me know if it helps!

        As for adding quotes, anytime you catch yourself thinking (or even writing) "the language used" or "the dialogue said" or a description of something, that's a perfect time to add a quote! I'm sure knowing this that next time you think or start to write something similar, a light bulb will go off in your head! These are all things we, as writers, just eventually come across and realize how easy writing really can be.

        Keep up the good work,

      2. Dear Kristen, thank you for the very helpful tips and suggestions. I was really glad to see that you corrected some of my grammar and spelling mistakes. I usually don’t make spelling mistakes, and I took your suggestion on sitting down and reading it aloud before printing it out. Another tip of yours I took was adding more quotes in my paragraphs. These two tips overall helped me as a writer and it overall gave me a better grade on my book review. Again, I thank you for the very helpful tips and suggestions.

        Cody Adkins

  2. Cody, I’m glad you found a book about sports that really interested you; we didn’t have independent reading when I was in school (which was at Logan, by the way), and I think it’s a great opportunity for students to appreciate books and reading. As someone who has never read the book, I would like to point out that you might consider identifying the Lincoln Light as the school newspaper, as I thought it was a typo for Lincoln High until the end of the review. I loved the example you used to discuss the book’s vocabulary! Quotations from the book can be very powerful in a book review or any other type of writing, so you can also incorporate and discuss them in the other paragraphs about theme and setting. I also noticed a mistake that many college students still make: misspelling “definitely” as “defiantly.” This is probably one of the most common mistakes I see, especially on Facebook and Twitter. Since spellcheck will never catch it, careful proofreading is the only way to avoid this mistake. I believe you accomplished your goal of the book review because now I really want to know what made Angel so different and if Mitch was treated differently by his peers in the end. All in all, keep up the good work; remember that specific details and your analysis of them really bring writing to life, so don’t be afraid to use more of them. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post a comment and I’ll reply!

  3. Dear Sarah, I really appreciate the helpful tips and suggestions. I was excited to see that you loved my examples on the book’s vocabulary. On my next book review, I used more examples and quotations to describe the setting, theme and vocabulary. Also, I was glad to hear that I used specific details and examples on my body paragraphs. Mrs. Baisden has stressed to us that using direct quotes and examples from the book can really spice up our reviews. I was wondering on how I could use better examples and quotes in each of my body paragraphs. Again, I thank you for the helpful tips and suggestions.

    Cody Adkins

    1. Cody,

      I’m glad you appreciated my feedback. You used good direct quotes in your body paragraphs, but you could always use some direct quotes like Mrs. Baisden says. One place you could do this is with the setting; find a sentence that describes the football field and discuss how that affects the book as a whole or the reader’s interpretation of the book. All in all, you’re doing a very good job with your book reviews.

      Sarah Ferrell

      1. Dear Sarah, thank you for the helpful tips and suggestions. I was glad that you pointed out on how adding some direct quotes in the setting can give the reader a better interpretation of the book. I took your suggestion and used several direct quotes in my setting and other body paragraphs. Again, I thank you for the helpful tips and I really appreciate your feedback on my book reviews.

        Cody Adkins

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