The football field is a battlefield
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
Told in alternating voices and with unapologetic truth, Leverage illuminates the fierce loyalty, flawed justice, and hard-won optimism of two young athletes.
I picked this up because it was about an
unlikely friendship between a big, tough football guy and a little
gymnast guy. It's labeled YA so I'm expecting something like, you know,
YA-appropriate themes and such.
It started out really well. The
writing pulls you in right away. Cohen writes in a very true-to-life
way; Dialogue is believable, events makes sense, characters have hidden
back stories and you like them.
And then things started getting all stereotypically bad and scary.
***Major spoilers ahead!!***
on we find out that the 3 captains of the football team are bullying
basically everyone not on the football team. Really scary bullying. Like
the kind of bullying that would land you in jail, not just expelled
from school. And they're taking steroids that the coach supplies them
with. They're all giant and they fly off the handle any time anyone so
much as sneers at them. They rule the school. No one can touch them, no
one disciplines them, no one speaks against them. The whole tone of the book is so
stereotypically, over-the-top against the big, mean football jocks that I
almost couldn't take it seriously. The jocks were just completely flat
characters. No depth.
Then real stuff happened. Scary real stuff.
So scary that I just couldn't read anymore. Ok, so, I know stuff like
this happens: Bullying and brutal sodomy and steroids and foster-related
abuse and football-God-syndrome. It does. But does all of it happen
together like this??? How did this one school contain so many of these
issues? And why would I ever want to read about them all?
my major problem with this book was that it felt like Cohen took every
stereotypical idea of dumb/mean jocks and shoved them all into this one
book. It was so serious. And cringe-worthy. And frightening.
Cohen writes in a way that is so unapologetically truthful; Meaning
characters react to things in embarrassing or sad or cowardly ways, just
like real people would. There is no one coming in to save the day. No
sudden burst of "I can fend these guys off by myself!" Nothing. Just
realness. It's hard to read, even if it is truthful. And I am a lover of
So yikes. I only read half the book. Can't read any
more. Scary. Books like this are worse than horror for me. This will
keep me up at night and haunt my dreams. I read the synopsis to see how
it ended and I'm glad things resolve but, geez! I will not be reading
it. Too much.
Sexual Content: Heavy