Friday, August 31, 2012

Joshua C. Cohen's Leverage

I am not the one to be lost for words, but when it comes to this book. I am speechless. There  are no words that I can find in the dictionary that can help me explain this YA novel. What I thought this book was about was not exactly what I expected to be. I really applaud the author for his technique with writing this novel. The author does not hold back any details, images, or language when  he decided to write about teen issues.

The novel is centered around two main characters, Danny and Kurt, who joins together to speak against the cruelty and injustice that seems to stem from this YA novel. As readers, we look into the personal thoughts and emotions of both characters; which we cannot help but feel empathy towards the characters because Cohen's writing seems surreal.

Danny, who is determined to become an Olympic champion has to prove to himself and his father that this is his dream and his goal in life. Danny like other teenagers have to deal with the constant bullying and taunting of other teenagers from his high school football players.

Kurt, who comes from a group home. He was physically and mentally abused and falsely accused of killing his best friend. It was said that he died in a container that he and Kurt shared from being placed in for punishment. Eventually, he was placed in another home, with a woman, whom sees him as her only meal ticket. He, was chosen by a high school football coach, who like most coaches, uses their players, to play on his upcoming winning team. The goal for the coach is to win the state championship. That is the goal, unfortunately, other students have to deal with what has been unleashed. This means, other students have to deal with the harsh, cruel, and physical assaults that are handed down to them by the over induced  football players.

The problems that arises from this novel, which was written from two perspectives We as readers are inside the minds of both characters. What the author tackles in this novel are bullying, sexual assault, friendship, teen suicide, drugs, and speaking up and taking action against bullies. The problems that the gymnastics team faced are being bullied by the football team, who as everyone notices receive school favoritism. For instance, they receive new gym equipment, while other school functions or programs are cut to accommodate the football team. Also, the author make reference to the team, football players, as being overaggressive, which means they are being giving steroids to help build their bodies. From those drugs, the football team, not all, take out their aggression on individuals whom they deem as being weak, which is the gymnastics's team.

The story reaches its climax when a school prank goes terribly out of control. Danny witness and hears his teammate, Ronney, being brutally assaulted by three members of the football team: Scott, Mike, and Tom. Danny and Kurt witness the rape, but it is Danny who was too afraid to help his teammate because he feared they would do the same to him. Kurt steps in and tackle his own teammates because in his mind, he is helping his defenseless and deceased friend, Lamar.  Afterwards, Kurt, Danny, and the other members of the football and gymnastics's team who were there, tired not to think of the incident and told Ronnie to just forget about what happened to him.  No one was going to believe him over the football players. The final climax of the story really hits home because Ronnie committed suicide. Everyone who was there felt horrible about the incident, others called him weak for killing himself without really knowing the full detail of what drove him to it. This was a sad tragedy that impacted the lives of his closest friends, and Kurt because none of them wanted that to occur, but it had to, in order to help them speak up and take action against what transpired in that room with Ronnie, Scott, Mike and Tom.  In the end, I will hold the ending, but it turned out to be the best ending for a well written novel

I really did not want to give the full details of the story because I did not want to spoil it for others who would consider reading this novel. I thought it would be best to give a complete story, and hold the ending. I recommend this novel to any teacher, professor, or anyone who wants to get an inside look on what young adults are facing in this new era. Overall, great novel.

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