“Leverage” by Joshua C. Cohen

Dutton Books, 2011

After being abused by his caretaker in a foster home, Kurt has another chance to remake himself. Due to his immense size from all the weight lifting he has done, he is recruited for his new school’s football team. Carrying scars inflicted on him, both inside and out, make Kurt a loner.

Danny is a tiny gymnast, always picked on for his size but determined to win a scholarship for his sport. He and his teammates band together against three members of the football team who have made it their goal in life to constantly bully them and all small, weak students.

Told in alternating voices, “Leverage” recounts the brutalizing and subsequent suicide of a student due to the combination of steroids, natural meanness, and the invincibility given the football team by parents and the school community. Both Kurt and Danny are impacted by the conflict on their teams, and join together to make a difference in an environment where no one else has dared to do so.

A good read for mature High Schoolers.

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