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Gym Candy

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. An award-winning author explores the dark corners of the heart of a young football player as he struggles for success, in this novel that tackles the issues surrounding the players decision to cross...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Steroid Abuse

Gym Candy by Carl Deuker starts with Mick Johnson playing football through out his childhood. As his football career goes on, things start to get more competitive. He tried lifting weights religiously. Obviously, that wasn't enough for Mick. As a result of this he gets sucked in to the life of steroids. This is the best book I've ever read. It is the book that is the most entertaining book to read. Well at least out of everything that I've read. Regularly I hate reading with a passion, but I could read this book for two straight hours. This book is a must read. I can almost assure that if you are a teenager you will enjoy this book. After reading this, I named it my all time favorite book. This book is a great example of realistic fiction. In my opinion, this book is definitely a five star.

My "non-reader" loved this book!

My 13 year old is not a fan of reading and has blown through this book!!

It's all there!

I teach Deuker's "Night Hoops" in my eighth grade English classes and it's consistently popular with even the reluctant readers. But now, I've found a novel I like even more. I like it because it wrestles with issues deeper than sports. I like it because it doesn't take the easy way out in the end. And I like it because it's just a damn good story, timely and entertaining. Despite my high endorsement, I do have one quibble. I'm very familiar with weights and lifting, and one sentence reveals a lack of care to details: "Now he was standing in front of the mirror, bench-pressing two hundred pounds . . ." Every bench press I know involves lying on the bench, not standing. That one quibble aside, this book is bound to be popular with boys facing the same issues Mick Johnson is facing.

Bittersweet Candy

Carl Deuker, a name of note in YA sports writing, has scored again with this realistic look at how a high school football player who knows better can rationalize his way into steroids merely by being ambitious, competitive, curious, and in the wrong place at the wrong time. The scary thing is, that's not too unusual a combination. Take this plus the fact that protagonist Mick Johnson already knows about steroids' side effects and health risks -- but takes the plunge anyway -- and you see the stuff of Deuker's engaging plot. The stage is set with exposition about Mick's family -- chiefly the story of his dad, Mike, an ex-college football stand-out who fumbled his career away with a combination of bad behavior and worse attitude. Now Mike's redemption can only come vicariously by encouraging his son to succeed where he failed. Next we get a series of game scenes, a Deuker specialty, showing Mick's strengths -- speed and quick moves -- as well as his weakness -- strength. The pieces are in place, and when Mick's dad's company buys a health club, Mick gets an "in" that begins a dark journey into a tangled forest, the world of weight lifters on juice. Books like this are a boon for boys who are reluctant readers but enthusiastic sports participants, and Deuker doesn't pretend to be writing anything deep and literary -- he's just writing great plot that makes kids read. Make no mistake, however: this book has a message worthy of discussion. Better yet, it avoids the mistake of coming across as any finger-wagging lecture. In fact, I tip my hat to Deuker for juking the obvious ending (which was about to tackle him shy of a successful conclusion) and writing a more realistic one that scored big with me (extra point is good, too). You see, sometimes stories don't tie together so sweetly. Sometimes, in fact, the truth is more bittersweet than not. GYM CANDY is such a story with such an ending. A thoughtful, sobering sports book, I recommend it highly.

Courtesy of Teens Read Too

Mick Johnson has big football shoes to fill. His dad was a high school star who went on to be a college standout and then a third round draft pick in the NFL. There are two empty walls in the family den just waiting for all the honors and awards Mick is expected to earn. Things seem to be headed in the right direction. Mick is an accomplished eighth-grade running back. He and his friend are stoked to learn they have been invited to join the high school team for their spring workouts. By the end of the summer, they both actually make it onto the varsity team as mere freshmen. But just making the team is not enough for competitive Mick. He doesn't just want to be there; he wants to play there, too. Personal goals as well as parental pressure drive Mick to seek ways to speed things up. He knows he needs to be bigger and stronger, but natural growth is way too slow. Pills and protein powder from the health supplement store seem like a possible answer. He even gets his dad to agree and pay for the expense. Maybe he's on his way to playing bigger, faster, and stronger. When Mick starts increasing his weight training time, his dad has another answer. The radio station where he works is the new owner of the local fitness center -- and free memberships for employees come with the deal. Mick starts working out with his own personal trainer. Peter, the trainer, has other ideas of how to help develop power. Mick's competitive drive pushes him toward steroid use, with all its positive results and negative side effects. His game and his body do get stronger, but at what cost? Friends, health, and personal pride suffer as Mick becomes more and more involved with the performance-enhancing drugs. Carl Deuker, author of Runner and Night Hoops, focuses on football in this new book. His use of non-stop, play-by-play action, realistic teen frustrations, and personal demons make this a book even reluctant readers will be reluctant to put down. Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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