Thursday, April 12, 2012

Leverage by Joshua C Cohen

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Hardcover, 425 

The football field is a battlefield

There's an extraordinary price for victory at Oregrove High. It is paid on - and off - the football field. And it claims its victims without mercy - including the most innocent bystanders.

When a violent, steroid-infused, ever-escalating prank war has devastating consequences, an unlikely friendship between a talented but emotionally damaged fullback and a promising gymnast might hold the key to a school's salvation.

Told in alternating voices and with unapologetic truth, Leverage illuminates the fierce loyalty, flawed justice, and hard-won optimism of two young athletes. 

I have been branching out and reading books that I may not normally pick up and I am glad that I did with this one. I will be the first to admit that I have a hard time reading books like this because, well, I really don't know why. Maybe they are too real? That may not make sense. As a teacher I see the war of social classes everyday and as much as we all want to say that we had a great childhood and no one made fun of anyone... yeah right! Even within a seemingly similar group of people (the athletes in this case), there are things that separate even them. 

I love, love, love the accurate portrayal of the characters and the difficulties they face. I think that novels like this should be must reads for parents of preteens and teens because they give a glimpse of something that, unfortunately, many teens face today. There are so many books out there that people want to label as "controversial" because they deal with issues like teens facing the pressure of steroids or sex or whatever you want to fill in the blank with. Cohen has done an amazing job shining light onto this topic (in my opinion) and I have already pointed some of my students in the direction of this book... especially my male athletes. Great conversations will continue to come from this book. 

Oh and I could spend hours analyzing this novels cover. Don't you just love it?! It is so simple, yet so powerful! 

Happy reading everyone!

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