Cover image for High heat
High heat
Deuker, Carl.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, [2003]

Physical Description:
277 pages ; 22 cm
When sophomore Shane Hunter's father is arrested for money laundering at his Lexus dealership, the star pitcher's life of affluence and private school begins to fall apart.
Reading Level:
620 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.2 10.0 67225.

Reading Counts RC High School 6.3 17 Quiz: 33509 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



Like the game of baseball, life is quirky and unpredictable, as Shane Hunter discovers in the spring of his sophomore year. Suddenly and without warning his life of privilege is turned upside down. And just as suddenly, life begins to seem utterly without fairness or purpose to him.
Exciting, well-written sports scenes transport readers right into the stands while complex issues engage their hearts and minds. For here is a novel of loss, of morality, and of the rare, redemptive power of baseball. Can speaking the truth really determine lives? Just how does one accept, move on, and begin doing the right thing?

Author Notes

Carl Deuker describes his younger self as a classic second-stringer: I was too slow and too short for basketball; I was too small for football, a little too chicken to hang in there against the best fastballs. So, by my senior year the only sport I was still playing was golf." Combining his enthusiasm for both writing and athletics, Deuker has written many exciting, award-winning novels for young adults.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-8. Time and baseball work to ease a teenager's hurt in this intense, narrowly focused novel. Shane attends exclusive Shorelake High and enjoys his role as fireballing short reliever on the school's championship baseball team. All of that is swept away when his father commits suicide. Suddenly, Shane is living in public housing, and he takes a brief hiatus from baseball before trying out for his new school's ragtag team. Then, facing Shorelake, Shane throws a vicious beanball that puts star player Reese in the hospital. Shane insists (until almost the end) that it was accidental but is dismayed to discover that he's lost his fastball. Reese, too, has lost his prowess, and the two become wary allies, dedicated to helping each other come back. Shane's inner recovery is mirrored in his gradual return to form on the mound amid a welter of blowouts, close games, and sudden reversals of fortune that propel his team into the state playoffs. Readers who prefer their Hollywood endings unalloyed may be disappointed that Reese experiences no parallel recovery, but there's enough taut sports action here to satisfy the most avid fan. --John Peters Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Narrator Shane Hunter is the "closer" for his high school baseball team-the treasured pitcher whose job is to take to the mound in the crucial final innings of a game. Baseball is Shane's world, his identity ("I focus on home plate, the catcher's glove, and the ball in my hand. When that's my whole world, I'm in control"). But the sophomore's world is shaken when his father, who owns a luxury car dealership, is arrested for money laundering while he is watching one of Shane's games. In a rapid spiral of events, Shane loses his father, his upscale home, his entire world. Suddenly poverty-stricken, he and his mother and sister move into a tiny run-down apartment, and the kids must attend public school for the first time. Perhaps worst of all, he loses his love for baseball. In a pivotal moment of darkness, Shane intentionally hits a batter, putting him in the hospital. But as the story progresses, he and the injured boy work out their demons together, through the game that has meant so much to them both. Deuker (Night Hoops) fills the pages with dozens of exciting play-by-play sequences; these serve not only to move the story along chronologically, but also act as the metronome for Shane's personal story of loss, recovery and renewal. It is a dark story in the first half, but the arc of redemption reminds readers that love conquers all-as does the pursuit of personal excellence. Ages 12-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Shane Hunter's life of privilege disintegrates when his dad is arrested for money laundering and commits suicide. The teen, his mother, and his younger sister are forced to move out of their palatial home and into subsidized housing in a tough part of Seattle. Shane has a difficult time adjusting, and is eventually arrested for stealing beer from a convenience store. As part of his probation, he must help repair a local baseball diamond. There, he meets the coach of his public school's baseball team, who encourages him to try out. A crucial moment comes when Shane, a relief pitcher with a blazing fastball, faces the team from his old private school. His anger rises to the surface, and he delivers a fastball directly at the head of Reese Robertson, the kid whose family bought Shane's house. Reese is hospitalized, and although Shane affects a lack of concern, he is so rattled that his pitching skills deteriorate. The rest of the novel follows his attempts to get both his arm and his life back on track, and the uneasy bond he forms with Reese. Deuker avoids easy answers in the book's ambiguous but truthful conclusion. Non-sports fans may find too many game descriptions to hold their interest, but devotees will be rewarded with a story that delivers baseball action along with a rich psychological portrait, told through a compelling first-person narration.-Todd Morning, Schaumburg Township Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.