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Children's LiteratureMoose, a sophomore football senior team member, is thrilled to hold the game football. All the clapping of his team mates, smiles, and words from his coach make him feel honored to be MVP. But the happiness immediately is replaced by sadness as his coach announces his retirement after twenty-seven years. The new coach, in a suit like a pro football coach, arrives after school is out for the summer. He makes many promises—new lockers, new exercise room with new equipment, and new work-out clothes. He even provides them with a trainer, vitamins, and power drinks. Michael is happy to be named one of three co-captains and vows to be a good example to the team. He lives with his Mom and has a good relationship with his Dad. He was even named "Employee of the Month" at the supermarket where he works. He is talked into taking steroids under the persuasive illusion that his trainer gives him that it is best for his Mom for—college scholarships—for his future, and for his team. He says there are only minor drawbacks, not mentioning steroids are against the law. When things get bad with anger issues and body changes, Moose faces the realities of drug use. When his old coach unexpectedly returns and the new coach and trainer are arrested, Michael makes a tough choice for the team. This high school drug-related novel, part of the "Orca Sounding" series, would be a good discussion book for middle-school classrooms. It would be a good book to read to the class posing a question after each chapter. It definitely should be included as a drug prevention novel on library shelves. 2005, Orca Publishers, Ages 12 to 18.
—Charlotte M. Krall