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GYM CANDY by Carl Deuker


by Carl Deuker

Age Range: 12 - 15

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-618-77713-6
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Mick Johnson wants to be a star running back. He’s good, but not good enough. The trouble is the red zone, the 20 yards in front of the end zone, and he’s not quite powerful enough to crunch his way in against big defenders. He begins working harder, lifting weights and taking protein powders, but progress is slow. He starts going to Popeye’s gym, where his trainer introduces him to steroids—gym candy—and then to “stacks,” mixes of pills and injections. This cautionary tale, told in first person, is a methodical working out of the psychology of the high-school athlete willing to do anything to gain an edge. It’s a moral tale, too, as Mick realizes what he has lost for his gains. After almost killing a friend and himself and going through rehab, he understands the almost-irresistible lure of the drugs that promise to make him more than he could be on his own. A superb sports novel with no easy resolutions and a good match with Robert Lipsyte’s Raiders Night (2006). (Fiction. 12-15)