"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.
MAL PEET grew up in Norfolk, England, where he says the only worthwhile pastimes were reading books and playing soccer. These are still his main interests. Of KEEPER, his first novel for young adults, he says, "Many soccer stories seem to get stuck in the mud like a heavy ball on a wet Saturday afternoon, but there's no reason why they can't shift into a different and magical dimension. KEEPER is about soccer, of course, but it's also about the supernatural, about relationships and loneliness, about believing in yourself—and about having something you would do your utmost to protect and defend." Mal Peet now lives in Devon, England.
Readers scrambling for soccer stories will be begging for this captivating tale with plenty of play-by-play.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
This stirring adventure—a soccer story? a ghost story?—defies expectations. . . . Both lyrical and gripping.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)