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Extended Audio Sample Leverage Audiobook, 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: February 2011 ISBN: 9781470800703
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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.

Download and start listening now!

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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.”

    VOYA

  • “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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 12/29/2013

    " This book, which pits a hs male gymnastics team against the 'roided-out football players, had a slow start, but it really picked up and raced to a satisfying finish. I think students will really enjoy it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kerry | 12/19/2013

    " When bullying goes too far it has tragic consequences for the boys of this High School. A very brutal read but pretty predictable ending. I would recommend if your kids are being bullied or are bullies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lorrie | 12/18/2013

    " This book was crazy disturbing! I liked the way the point of view bounced back and forth from Danny and Kurt. I just wanted to give Kurt a huge hug. What happened to Ronnie...made me want to puke. Loved the end and the justice that was dolled out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Braxton Hornsby | 12/5/2013

    " When i read Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen it was real intersting and every page you wanted too read because thats how intersting it was. It was about a Steriod Junky who i guess is on roid rage and decides to have an all out prank war that gets him into seriouis trouble. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donna Smither-Waller | 11/18/2013

    " WOW! This was an incredible book! It disturbed me and it made me a cheerleader, especially for Kurt. So glad this was on my summer list. Definitely in a class of its own "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kara | 6/3/2013

    " It was so descriptive of the violence that I kept thinking, is this Young Adult or Adult. I would not want my teenagers to read this even though it was thought provoking, well written, and hard to put down. It was just too vulgar. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Capillya | 9/13/2012

    " A difficult but good read. Scratch that. VERY difficult read. Cohen is definitely on my to-read-forever list of authors. Thanks to Jordyn for highly recommending this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam Gardow | 1/29/2012

    " Powerful novel about sports, bullying, shame and secrets. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara Klipper | 1/22/2012

    " Leverage is graphically violent in parts, so be prepared. It could have been just another story about bullying and the hierarchies of high school, but somehow this one really stayed with me. I like the use of alternate voices and POVs, and the plot had a few nice surprises. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sam | 4/27/2011

    " Excellent tale of high school athletes and the danger of steroids. Deals with pressure to succeed, parental pressure, and bullying turned violent. Warning--there is graphic language and violence in this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna | 4/26/2011

    " Giving it a listen now. And, yes, it's still excellent and equally traumatizing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tara | 4/23/2011

    " This book was SO INTENSE, SOOOOO INTENSE!!! I couln't put it down. It's a teen book but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone under 18, there are some pretty horrifying things that happen. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kerry | 3/28/2011

    " When bullying goes too far it has tragic consequences for the boys of this High School. A very brutal read but pretty predictable ending. I would recommend if your kids are being bullied or are bullies. "

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About the Author
Author Joshua C. Cohen

Joshua C. Cohen was a walk-on for the University of Wisconsin-Madison gymnastics team and, after college, danced professionally in both the classical and modern disciplines. Since retiring as a dancer, he has worked as an editor in the financial industry and is currently a senior SEC editor for Thomson-Reuters. He and his wife live in New York City.

About the Narrators

Kirby Heyborne is a musician, actor, and professional narrator. Noted for his work in teen and juvenile audio, he has garnered numerous Earphones Awards. His audiobook credits include Jesse Kellerman’s The Genius, Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, and George R. R. Martin’s Selections from Dreamsongs.

Paul Michael Garcia, an AudioFile Earphones Award winner and former company member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, received his classical training in theater from Southern Oregon University, where he worked as an actor, director, and designer.