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The Penalty by Mal Peet

The Penalty

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Shortlisted for the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2007. This is the second novel from Mal Peet that features Paul Faustino (the first was Keeper) South America’s top sports journalist. It’s a brilliant thriller, beautifully written and the author’s passion for football shines through in the writing. If you’re football mad or want to be a journalist, don’t look further than this book for inspiration. Now available in audio CD. The first in the trilogy is Keeper and the final one is Exposure.


The Penalty by Mal Peet

As the city of San Juan pulses to summer's sluggish beat, its teenage football prodigy El Brujito, vanishes without trace. Paul Faustino, South America's top sports journalist, is reluctantly drawn into the mystery. As a story of corruption and murder unfolds, he is forced to confront a bitter history of slavery, and the power of the occult.


"Physical, spiritual - Arthurian, even - this is true enchantment." TES

About the Author

Mal Peet

Mal Peet, winner of the Nestle Bronze Medal Award and the Branford Boase Award grew up in North Norfolk, and studied English and American Studies at the University of Warwick. Later he moved to south-west England and worked at a variety of jobs before turning full-time to writing and illustrating in the early 1990s. With his wife, Elspeth Graham, he has written and illustrated many educational picture books for young children, and his cartoons have appeared in a number of magazines. He and Elspeth live in Exmouth, Devon.

Tamar won the Carnegie Medal and is a multi-layered tale of love and betrayal. He has written three other linked novels, Keeper, The Penalty and Exposure all featuring the football obsessed Paul Faustino, a sports journalist in South America who is reluctantly drawn into murders and mysteries.

Exposure won the 2009 Guardian Award for Children’s Fiction. On his award win, Mal says, “I’m totally thrilled to win the Guardian prize. I’ve been buying the newspaper for 35 years, so I’ve worked for it! In fact, if you subtract the prize money from what I’ve spent at the newsagents, the Guardian is way ahead on the deal! I don’t mind – the Guardian prize is very special. It’s judged by other writers so it’s pretty likely that if you win it, you deserve it.”

Mal Peet died in March 2015.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th January 2012


Mal Peet

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Author's Website


Walker Books Ltd


272 pages
Interest Age: From 12 years


NewGen - YA Fiction
eBook Favourites

Fantasy & magical realism (Children's / Teenage)



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