Gym Candy

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
Gym Candy Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Authentic look at high school football culture and drug use.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 14+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

There is peer pressure, parental pressure, drug usage, fights and an attempted suicide in this novel. There are also examples of positive adult influence and involvement, and instances of true friendship.


This novel has fights fueled by 'roid rage, an attempted suicide, and some gun imagery -- blood is described from a gunshot wound. There is also typical violence associated with football -- tackles, bruises, and injuries.


There are some typical high school crushes, but nothing racy.


This novel has mild swearing, but nothing excessive.


Other than the names of specific kids of steroids, this novel is clear of references to consumer products.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There is heavy, addictive steroid use in this novel. Pills and injectables are used.

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.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byJacer7 October 16, 2019

Fantastic read!

This book was a great read. I’m not typically a big fan of reading but this book really got me hooked and kept me on the edge of my seat. I highly recommend thi... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byBell365 October 4, 2018
I know this is a great book and has some bad stuff but besides that it a great book it will have u thinking what happens next

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?

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