A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there are some heavy subjects in this novel, including teen steroid use, suicide, and violence related to drug use. A teen threatens to shoot a friend before turning the gun on himself. Adults take advantage of impressionable teens, putting one on an illegal steroid routine.
What's the story?
Mick's passion has been football since he was a little kid. His father, a former professional football player, has a room with walls dedicated to his high school and college career, and Mick wants to be just like him. He'll do anything to get and keep an edge. When Mick earns a top spot on the varsity football team, he looks to a friendly personal trainer's solution to his problem. Soon Mick finds himself in over his head. Can he ever get back to playing the game fair or will the "gym candy" keep him coming back for more?
Is it any good?
GYM CANDY is a novel for real football fans. Author Carl Deuker does a fantastic job capturing the action from the first down to the final touchdown. The audience will almost be able to smell the sweat and feel the hits through Deuker's vivid writing. Teens will cheer on Mick as he goes after football glory with all that he has in him.
The novel will give both teens and their parents some serious issues to think about as Mick succumbs to both internal and external pressure to perform like an athlete far beyond his years. If readers are looking for an uplifting, sports hero ending, they'll be disappointed. A bit of a downer, the ending is as raw and real as the rest of the novel.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about steroid use. Given the incredible pressure many kids feel to excel in sports at an early age, is the temptation to take steroids understandable? What coping mechanisms do you have to deal with peer and self expectations? Do you think steroid use in sports counts as cheating? Do professional athletes set a good or bad example for teens?