From award-winning novelist Carl Deuker comes a gritty, heart-wrenching story about high school football, self-acceptance, and the pressures that come with being the best at any cost.
“Look, Mick,” he said, “you’re going to find out from somebody in the gym, so you might as well find out from me. Those supplements you’re taking? They might get you a little bigger, but just a little. If you’re after serious results, there’s other stuff that produces better results much faster, stuff that a lot of guys in the gym use.” “What other stuff?” “You know what I’m talking about—gym candy.”
Running back Mick Johnson has dreams: dreams of cutting back, finding the hole, breaking into the open, 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 elite 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.
About the Author
Carl Deuker is a celebrated author of “top-flight sports writing matched to uncommonly perceptive coming-of-age stories” (Kirkus Reviews). He describes his younger self as a classic second-stringer: “I was too slow and too short for basketball; I was too small for football, a little too chicken to hang in there against the best fastballs. So, by my senior year the only sport I was still playing was golf.” He was a teacher for many years in the Seattle area, where he now lives with his wife.
"Deuker skillfully complements a sobering message with plenty of exciting on-field action…[A] solid addition to the sports fiction shelf."--Booklist, 9/1/07 Booklist, ALA
"Deuker continues his run as premier author of provocative YA sports novels...[kick] off the football season with this riveting title…" The Bulletin 9/2007
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Deuker...knows his stuff...This is a solid sports tale with a valuable message."--KLIATT September 2007 KLIATT
"[A] great addition to both school and public libraries and an eye-opening recommendation to all budding athletes."--VOYA October 2007 VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
"Deuker realistically portrays the paranoia, acne, and emotional roller-coaster...of steroid use." SLJ 10/2007 School Library Journal —