What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Leverage doesn't pull many punches in its depiction of high school sports culture run amok. It features bullying, steroid use, teen drinking and pot use, a large amount of profanity, and a good deal of emotional and physical violence, including beatings, threats with loaded guns, and intentional injuries on the playing field. A male student is sexually assaulted, and there is a suicide.
What's the story?
Danny Meehan is a sophomore gymnast at his high school, proud of his talent, yet fearful of the older football jocks who push him around. New to the school, oversized fullback Kurt Brodsky is physically and mentally scarred by the abuse he endured in foster care. When a series of confrontations between the gymnasts and the football players escalates into tragic violence, Danny and Kurt must find a way to work together to save themselves and their friends.
Is it any good?
LEVERAGE is a thoughtful, suspenseful, and intense story of athletic rivalry and bullying run amok. The author, Joshua C. Cohen, does a fine job of presenting the story from two different perspectives and describing the physical realities of high-pressure football and gymnastics. The antagonists, however, are a little obvious in their villainy, and as the narrative speeds toward its climax, some readers will be able to guess the ending a few beats too early.
Leverage made the 2012 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults list, compiled by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how Leverage demonstrates how sports rivalries can get out of hand. What can schools do to promote better relationships between athletes, members of other teams, and non-athletes?
What are some of the effects of steroid use? Why are these drugs especially dangerous for teens?
What are some of the consequences of keeping secrets, like a number of the characters do? Do you think that honesty is always the best policy?