Sunday, January 17, 2010

SHOOTING STAR by Fredrick McKissack Jr.

Jomo Rodgers has big football dreams, unfortunately, he's not big.  His coach praises his competitive attitude and his hustle, but he always ends his comments with, "If only ...."  Jomo knows he means, if only he was bigger.

At the coach's suggestion, Jomo begins an aggressive training program between his sophomore and junior year.  With the help of Jeri, the team's strength training coach, he is able to start building some muscle and increasing his weight.  Just like most young athletes, Jomo doesn't think it is happening fast enough though, so he looks to another source.  He hooks up with Ganz, a college chemistry major who is selling a product he says will make Jomo a star.

Just two weeks after beginning the steroid injections, Jomo notices a difference and so do his coaches and teammates.  Getting the money to continue using is not a problem, but keeping it a secret might prove to be. 

His football situation is improving, but things at home are not.  His father, a college professor, has started ending each evening drunk, and Jomo's mother recently moved to Seattle to advance her art career, so she is not around to keep things running smoothly.  Even with his success on the football field and admiring calls from college recruiters, side-effects from the steroids have Jomo's life spiraling out of control.

SHOOTING STAR by Fredrick McKissack Jr. focuses on the player side of steroid use.  What pushes a player to use the illegal substance knowing that discovery will end a career?  Why does a player continue using when things obviously get out of hand?  SHOOTING STAR is an attention grabber.  It will interest not only sports fans, but anyone looking for a story about the drive to succeed against personal odds.  It is a real page-turner I couldn't put down.


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Eugene Martinez said...

Ive Just finished this book and it is by far the best book i read this year. it shows the downside of steroids

Anonymous said...

I really liked this book. I was definitely skeptical since I do not like any sports whatsoever. But this book grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go. I was inside Jomo's head and just as stunned as he with every outlandish angry outburst that resulted from his use of steroids. You definitely do not have to be a sports fan to love this book.

Anonymous said...

i really hated the last page when it just ended like that he should continue it at least what happens next

Anonymous said...

Is there a sequel now?

Anonymous said...

When did this book take place?