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Extended Audio Sample Leverage, by Joshua C. Cohen Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (785 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joshua C. Cohen Narrator: Kirby Heyborne, Paul Michael Garcia Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Part Friday Night Lights by H. G. Bissinger, part Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, this debut YA novel tells the incredibly powerful story of bullying and how—taken to the extreme—it can wreak havoc on the lives of teenagers.

Kurt is a talented but emotionally damaged football player. Danny is a rising star on the gymnastics team, an outsider in a school where the football team rules. But the two form an unlikely friendship, and when one of the gym team is viciously assaulted by the quarterback and his cronies, Kurt rises to his defense and challenges the entrenched stereotypes of high school sports.

Reminiscent of the early work of Markus Zusak, this is that rare book that authentically captures the voices, fierce loyalties, and harsh justice of teenage boys.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Sports novels don’t hit much harder than this…Well-drawn alternating perspectives…Sports fans will love Cohen’s style: direct, goal oriented, and filled with sensory detail.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Cohen’s debut offers a timely look at bullying…The central tragedy is gripping, as is Kurt’s heartbreaking past.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This powerful novel is thought-provoking and well-written, and it’s about as dark and disturbing as YA literature gets.”

    School Library Journal

  • “A great read for the high school student or advanced middle school reader…Cohen writes very well in the perspective of the two high school students…The story is catchy and will keep readers interested.”


  • “Kurt and his struggles are heartbreakingly real, and readers will pull for him long after the story ends.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • ABooklist Top 10 Books of 2011: Sports Audiobooks
  • A BookRiot Pick for YA

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Darla | 2/18/2014

    " Wow! Wasn't sure if I could read on after the storage room scene. Disturbing and hoping not close to reality. Joshua Cohen did an excellent job bringing a horrible story to an ending that brought closure. I didn't want to keep thinking about what would happen next that turn my stomach. Highly recommended to any athlete to share the necessity of boundaries when being a part of a team. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Kama | 1/30/2014

    " Really more like 3.5 stars. Combines a lot of teen concerns and does it without making caricatures. Flawed heroes, people making poor decisions, etc. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Arianna Johnson | 1/15/2014

    " It was a really good read, although it was one of the harder books i've read before, simply because of the male point of view. Some of the events that took place were a little dark, but it made it more real and kind of put the whole situation right in the reader's face, forcing them into the action and into their emotions. It was interesting to see both sides of the story through the two different viewpoints, although a bit confusing here and there. Overall, a very interesting read, especially to those who are sports enthusiasts. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Danie P. | 1/7/2014

    " Horrifying what this book depicts. A football team completely out of control, harassing the weak and vulnerable in their school. Kurt, a transfer student, joins the football team because he was recruited by the coach. Danny a gymnast is bent on getting a scholarship for college. When a prank war between the football team and gymnastic team results in the death of a student Kurt and Danny must figure out how to bring the guilty party to justice.This book is really intense and has a graphic rape scene. "

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