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Review: Gym Candy (Deuker)

Title: Gym Candy
Author: Carl Deuker
Genre: YA, Sports fiction
Pages: 313
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (higher for high school students who are into football)
Challenges: YA (#18), TBR (#9), Dewey Read-a-Thon  (#1)
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library
Summary (from the inside flap): Running back Mick Johnson has dreams: dreams of cutting back, finding the hole, breaking into the ope, and running free with nothing but green grass ahead. He has dreams of winning and of being the best. But football is a cruel sport. It requires power, grace, speed, quickness, and knowledge of the game. It takes luck, too. One crazy bounce can turn a likely victory into sudden defeat. What ellite athlete wouldn't look for an edge? A way to make him bigger, stronger, faster? This novel explores the dark corners of the heart of a young football player as he struggles for success under the always glaring--and often unforgiving--stadium lights.

Review: I have had this book on my TBR for quite some time. Sports, high school, steroids. It has all the makings of a really good book. And, it is. I rated it a 4 because, for me, it's got too much football detail. For someone who plays football or likes football, the amount of game in the story will be much appreciated.

The author does a great job of building up to Mick's steroid use; it seems natural and real for the character and I could see how he justified it to himself. However, the author also does an amazing job of showing the down side of steroid use: the depression; the rage; the doubt; the illegality of it all; and the effect it has on the user's life and relationships. He even describes the negative physical side effects (breasts, zits, etc).

And, aside from the steroid use, there is a story in there that I enjoyed: high school life, family relationships, dating, and growing up. All in all a good read that I'd recommend.


Athira said...

Football isn't something I would enjoy too, so I can understand your reaction. It's nice though that the author is writing about sports and steroid use in a YA book.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Yes, I was impressed with the way Deuker dealt with the issue of steroids. I hope a bunch of athletes read this one!