The author of Gym Candy is Carl Deuker. Carl Deuker grew up in California. He attended University of California, Berkeley, majoring in English. He currently lives in Washington and is a teacher at Shelton View Elementary School. He wrote seven novels and is working on an eighth. His novels so far are, On the Devil’s Court, Heart of a Champion, Night Hoops, Painting the Black, High Heat, Runner, and Gym Candy. Four of his novels won awards. His novels all have something to do with teens, sports, and take place in Washington. The setting of the novel is in present day in Seattle, Washington.
The main character of the story is Mick Johnson. Mick’s father was a failure as an NFL football player and now looks to Mick to pick up his dreams as a football player. Mick’s best friend is Drew Carney. Drew is the quarterback that struggles to make starting varsity but then makes it.
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DeShawn Free is another friend of Mick that is also on the football team and is wide receiver. He ends up becoming best friends with Drew when they drift away from Mick. Kaylee is on the volleyball team and likes Mick. Matt Drager is an antagonist in the novel. Matt is starting running back and a “bully” towards Mick. Aaron Clark is also an antagonist.
Aaron is the starting quarterback and is Matt Drager’s friend. He is also a “bully” toward Mick. Peter Volz is Mick’s personal trainer. When he is first introduced he is assumed to be gay but then when he is reintroduced we find out he is not. Peter introduces Mick to steroids and is his supplier. Mick Johnson is the son of Mike Johnson. Mike Johnson is a superstar football player until he goes to the NFL. Mike Johnson dropped out of training camp in the NFL. Mike now looks to Mick to fulfill his dreams as a star football player. Mick is pressured by multiple things, including his father to do well on the football team.
Mick is pressured so much that he ends up taking steroids to please himself and his father. In the end Drew, his best friend, finds out and says he is going to tell. Mick tries to take the easy way out of Drew telling about the steroids. I believe that this novel was really good. I’ve liked Carl Deuker’s books since I read Runner. If I had to rate this book I would rate it about 4 ? out of 5. It was very detailed and had some action from the football point of view. As I read this book I did not want to put it down because I wanted to see what would happen next.
It was kind of like TV with the cliff hangers. But it was like that in every spot. I didn’t want to miss anything so I didn’t want to stop reading. The introduction into the book was well written and so was the ending. Instead of giving you the ending and just saying, “There it is, its over,” it made you do some thinking. I liked that a lot. I also liked how the information was revealed in the book, instead of giving it all to you in the beginning and building a story off of that, he built a story into revealing the information and built little problems into that.
As far as the action went, it wasn’t that bad. The games that were explained went into detail so I could follow along with what happened in the game, I liked that. Everything painted a clear picture in my head the whole time so it was as if I was watching a movie. Mick Johnson is the protagonist of the novel. The novel never actually tells what he looks like but in my head I picture him to be average height, muscular, since he took steroids and plays football, and have brown hair. Mick is pressured by his dad to be a star in football so he can fulfill his father’s dreams.
He becomes best friends with Drew Carney and DeShawn Free. They all three stick together through football and high school. Mick undergoes multiple conflicts through out the story. Mick feels pressured by his father to do well in football so to gain his father’s gratitude he takes steroids to do better. Mick also has conflicts with the antagonist, Matt Drager, on the football field and in school. The steroids also conflict with Mick because he wants to hang out with friends but is embarrassed because of some of the things the steroids did to him.
Even worse than being embarrassed in front of his friends, he is embarrassed in front of Kaylee, the girl that he likes. The steroids also gave him rage at times and put him in depression. On top of that he had to stay secret most of the time in fear of getting caught with steroids. In the end the steroids cause Mick to point a gun at his best friend, and even worse, shoot himself in the head. He solves the steroid problem in the end by going to rehab, which keeps his whole steroid profile hidden for a chance to play football again.