Winner of the 2009 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize
Carnegie Medalist Mal Peet takes a searing look at the world of soccer and pop-celebrity culture — and the lives of three street kids caught in its glare.
When a black South American soccer star signs on to a team in the country’s racist south, headlines blare. And when he falls for the sensual Desmerelda, a stunning white pop singer and daughter of a wealthy politician, their sudden and controversial marriage propels the pair to center stage, where they burn in the media spotlight. But celebrity attracts enemies; some very close to home. And its dazzle reaches into the city’s hidden corners, exposing a life of grit and desperation the glitterati could never imagine. When a girl is found murdered, reporter Paul Faustino is caught between worlds as he witnesses the power of the media in making — and breaking — lives. Inspired by Shakespeare’s OTHELLO, this modern tragedy of desire and betrayal, incisively and compassionately told, is a truly enthralling work of crossover fiction.
Peet spins a great story, with devilishly well-plotted connections among the characters, a deliciously evil villain in Diego Mendosa, and an unforgiving examination of the cult of celebrity. —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Successfully blends sports writing with crime fiction to explore not only race and class divisions in society but also issues of trust, loyalty, and celebrity – with the Shakespeare play providing the structure for it all. —The Horn Book