Gym Candy

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Gym Candy
by Carl Deuker

Having grown up in the shadow of his father’s failed NFL career, high-school football player Mick Johnson is determined not to make the same mistakes. But when he’s tackled just short of the goal in a pivotal game, he decides that vitamin supplements aren’t enough and begins purchasing “gym candy,” or steroids, from the trainer at his local gym. His performance starts breaking records and his father couldn’t be more proud, but along with gains in muscle, he suffers “‘roid rage,” depression, and unsightly acne. When his secret finally comes out, he attempts suicide. Even after therapy, Mick is left wondering if he’ll continue to be tempted by steroids.

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710L High School 320 Thriller/Suspense 2008 0547076317

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Runner

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Runner
by Carl Deuker

When his alcoholic Gulf War veteran father is fired from the first steady job he has held in years, Chance Taylor is understandably glum. He has no idea where they’ll get the money to pay the moorage fees for the run-down sailboat they call home. Since his parents’ divorce, Chance has tried to keep a low profile in school, and his only pleasure is running by himself along the Seattle waterfront. [spoiler title=”Click for More”] When a marina office employee offers to pay him $250 a week to pick up occasional packages at a tree along his running route, Chance is deeply suspicious of what they may contain but desperate enough to accept this opportunity to pay the bills. As this new job gradually becomes more dangerous and more clearly illegal, Chance’s father is able to rise above his personal problems to help extricate his son. In a gripping climax complete with SWAT teams swarming throughout the marina as Coast Guard patrol boats close in on terrorists, Chance is afforded a final glimpse of the heroic man his father once was. [/spoiler]

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770 High School 224 Thriller/Suspense 2007 0618735054

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Fat Kid Rules the World

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Fat Kids Rules the World
by K.L. Going

Troy Billings is seventeen, 296 pounds, friendless, utterly miserable, and about to step off a New York subway platform in front of an oncoming train. Until he meets Curt MacCrae, an emaciated, semi-homeless, high school dropout guitar genius, the stuff of which Lower East Side punk rock legends are made. Never mind that Troy’s dad thinks Curt’s a drug addict and Troy’s brother thinks Troy’s the biggest (literally) loser in Manhattan.

Soon, Curt’s recruited Troy as his new drummer-even though Troy can’t play the drums. Together, Curt and Troy will change the world of punk, and Troy’s own life, forever.

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700L Middle School 183 Realistic Fiction 2003 0399239901

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Hole in My Life

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Hole in My Life
by Jack Gantos

In the summer of 1971, Jack Gantos was an aspiring writer desperate for adventure, college cash, and a way out of a dead-end job.

For ten thousand dollars, he recklessly agreed to help sail a sixty-foot yacht loaded with hashish from the Virgin Islands to New York City, where he and his partners sold the drug until federal agents finally caught up to them in a bust at the Chelsea Hotel. For his part in the conspiracy, the twenty-year-old Gantos was sentenced to serve up to six years in prison.

[spoiler title=”Click for More”]On the surface, the narrative tumbles from one intense moment to the next as Gantos pieces together the story of his restless final year of high school, his short-lived career as a smuggler, and his time in prison. But running just beneath the action is the story of how Gantos –once he found himself locked up in a small, yellow-walled cell– moved from wanting to be a writer to writing, and how this newly found dedication helped him endure the worst experience of his life.[/spoiler]

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840L High School 200 Autobiography 2002 0374399883

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