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Review by Jen Waters. In a town like ours, football was everything. Set in an unspecified town that could stand for any small town in the United States or Canada, Juice tells the story of a high school football team that is tempted by the devil of the sports world: steroids. An only child with a single mother, Michael struggles to keep a 70 percent average in his classes so he can continue to play ball. Upon meeting Tony, the strength trainer and personal assistant to Coach Barnes, Michael is easily persuaded to do whatever it takes to become stronger, and he begins taking steroids.

Very shortly after this incident, the old coach returns, bringing news that Coach Barnes and his assistant Tony are the subjects of a police investigation surrounding the illegal possession, use and sale of steroids. Michael will not be charged for using steroids, and the team will return to their original ways. Granted, hi-lo books are known as high interest books that rarely surpass pages, but the reader feels as if threads of the story have been missed or hurried through — for example, what will happen to Coach Barnes and his assistant?

Will Michael suffer any health problems due to his taking of steroids? For a book in which plot plays an important role, it seems to strange that these details would be omitted. That being said, Juice is a quick read that would certainly be of interest to any athletic high school boy involved in team sports and who may have had to deal with similar issues.


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High school sports, as I recall from my own school, can be viciously competitive, and it is very plausible that some teens would consider taking drugs to help give themselves that extra edge. Other than Doorknob that is. Was that how you talked about a dead person? You used her full name? Samuels' voice caught, but continued. He leaned over hard, so that all his weight bore down on one side of the kayak. And Uncle Jean is big. We were about to capsize.

She opened it and sprinkled something onto a hand mirror. A pure white powder. She divided it in half, stuck a short straw up one nostril and snorted the powder.

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Try some. It's not okay. You're not going. I said no. His mother has We have to get out of here.

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There's nothing we can do. Besides, there are already people there to help and to call the police. There's nothing we can do but get in trouble. Get out of here! I had one eye on the road in front and the other on my rea First dead person, kid? How much does she know? At fifteen, Ethan is on the fast track to nowhere. In and out of group h What does Ethan know that someone is willing to kill for? Ethan lives in a foster home, struggling to put his life on the right track.

Involved in a photography program for at-risk kids, he finds himself threatened again and again by someone who wants his camera. What does Etha In our beauty-obsessed culture, standing up against the drive to perfection can have some disastrous consequences. When Jack develops an interest in something, he puts his all into it, making lists, doing research and learning all he can. When his best friend Leah decides to ha Who's ready to be a father at seventeen?

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She is angry and blames Zach. She wouldn't be in this state if he hadn't tried to take their relationship further than she The guy had one hand on my throat and I was pinned down. His other hand held a knife. Then I looked in his eyes and realized that he was as scared as I was. He was breathing hard as he tried to get control of himself.

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He was trying to say something. What could I do? And what was the worst that could happen? So they shave her head, I thought. He is trying to get along and not cause any waves. When he falls i Corbin struggles to remember.

Seventeen-year-old Corbin plays hockey and is known as a scrapper on and off the ice. Fighting makes him feel strong. Corbin's friend, Darius, is socially adept and popular, and Darius's reckless risk-taking makes Corbin feel alive. With Rubee, a g The jump from school band to rock band is a tough one. Does Duncan have what it takes? Struggling at home and at school, Duncan decides to try out for a local rock band.

He plays the bass in the school orchestra, but it is a long way from band camp to rock star. Joining a heavy Justin looked over at me. Then he looked at the baby. But he turned and started up the old river road. The cop pulled something out of his pocket. Andrew looked at it too. I nodded When I got scared like this, a hand came up from inside and grabbed all the words out of my mouth. My dad started coming toward me and everything went into slow motion. I tried to run into the kitchen, but every step seemed to take five minutes.

Ralph looked away from me to another guy. Like last Friday? They were all laughing again.

Orca Soundings, short high-interest novels with contemporary themes

Jujube is t So, do we have a deal? Evans asked. Evans said. First you try to threaten me. Then you try to bribe me. And now you do the two together, trying to bribe me and threate I tried to sound like I had no idea what the cops would want with me. When his step-father Phil is shot dead And anything dead is food for a bear. When they take a shortcut over a treacherous logging road and have a accident, their adventure becomes more about survival than fresh powder. Tracked by a hungry bear, while trying to outrun We had the top down on our old Le Baron and the sun was beating from a sky that was nothing but blue.

Liberty said he tried to rape her. We played for ten minutes and drove home every last note. Al sang a barely audible lead and Drek and I tried to do backup vocals, but I don't think our mikes were even on. Toward the end, though, I had a long, crazy riff to play on my guitar. And you know what? It sounded good. It sounded The horses' iron shoes scraped, metal against solid stone. Slowly they struggled upward, legs bent, lungs wheezing.