The Penalty by Mal Peet

The Penalty

Written by Mal Peet

13+ readers   YA readers   Books for Boys   
Download an extract Add to wishlist Share this book

The Lovereading4Kids comment

This is the second novel from Mal Peet that features Paul Faustino, 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. The first in the trilogy is Keeper and the final one is Exposure.

Shortlisted for the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2007.


The Penalty by Mal Peet

In the second of the Paul Faustino novels by Carnegie Medal-winning author Mal Peet, teenage football prodigy El Brujito, the Little Magician , has vanished without a trace and Paul finds himself reluctantly drawn into the mystery. As the city of San Juan pulses to summer's sluggish beat, Paul gets more than he bargained for as a story of corruption and murder unfolds, forcing him to confront a bitter history of slavery and the power of the occult.


'Glorious, cartwheeling, magical, frightening' Frank Cottrell Boyce, The Guardian

'The Penalty weaves together slavery, tribal magic and themes of modern-day corruption... Notable for its exceptional humanity, stylistic clarity and neat construction.' The Sunday Times

'Another superb read from a master storyteller.' The Bookseller

'Physical, spiritual - Arthurian, even - this is true enchantment' TES

About the Author

Mal Peet

Mal Peet (June 1947 – 2 March 2015), 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 wrote and illustrated many educational picture books for young children, and his cartoons appeared in a number of magazines. He and Elspeth lived in Exmouth, Devon.

Tamar won the Carnegie Medal and is a multi-layered tale of love and betrayal. He wrote 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 said, “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.”

He also wrote a critically acclaimed adult novel, The Murdstone Trilogy

More books by this author

Loading similar books...

Other Formats

Book Info


272 pages
Interest Age: From 12


Mal Peet
More books by Mal Peet

Author's Website


Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

7th April 2016




It is fantastic, you get to read lots of books and you always find something new and amazing in them.

Erica Motoc, age 7

A great way to introduce kids to great books, authors & genres. Parents can find age-appropriate books to share with their children.

Judi Davies – Aberdare Girls Sch

At @HHSHaringey we love @lovereading4kids because our pupils can practice reviewing & get free upcoming books before anyone else!

Helen Swinyard – Heartlands High

It is THE website to use for narrowing down your search for any book. Definitely knocks the socks off any other book review website.

Nickey and Tomasz Hawryszczuk

I love finding new books to read. My mummy and me look at the new ones coming out. I have written reviews of some of them!

Jessica Cobbin – age 7

Love “Lovereading4kids” as my son gets to hear about & read new books before his mates which keeps him interested in reading=a very happy Mum

Liz Evans

I love all the books they recommend & put up for me to review. I also love the fact that they give new authors the chance to share their boo

Daisy Pennock – age 15

It has introduced my children to books we hadn’t come across before. Real children’s reviews gives a great insight into what others think to

Lorraine Woods

Lovereading 4 schools