Sunday, April 4, 2010

Gym Candy by Carl Deuker

Main character: High school football player Mick Johnson
Location: Washington state
Time period: Contemporary
Genre: YA Fiction, Sports, Football, Steroids

I knew this would be a good book before I even read it. Why? Well, the fact that it was on the 2009-2010 Lone Star Reading List was a big hint, but the thing that clinched it was that this book was never on the shelf when I went looking for it.

The book is about a young man who falls into using steroids. The thing I really liked about the story is that you see that he is really a good guy. He's not some wicked drug fiend, not a vain muscle-bound freak. He's a kid that loves football and desperately wants to be the best that he can be. Part of this comes from wanting to please his father who was a football player himself when he was younger--until a knee injury knocked him permanently out of the game. But don't think that the dad is one to push Mick so hard that he turns to drugs; indeed, the dad is as anxious for Mick's approval and Mick is for dad's approval.

Instead, it really is a slow slide, and it almost seems logical for Mick to go from lifting weights to using protein powder to taking injections to increase his strength and endurance. Even when his trainer gives him a complicated schedule of cocktails, his explanation makes sense. Well of course you want this to build muscle but you don't want the 'roid rage so you take this and then you add this to prevent depression.

A great book and a sobering look at how easy it can be to become an addict.

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