Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Leverage” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,726 Ratings  ·  381 Reviews
The football field is a battlefield

There's an extraordinary price for victory at Oregrove High. It is paid on - and off - the football field. And it claims its victims without mercy - including the most innocent bystanders.

When a violent, steroid-infused, ever-escalating prank war has devastating consequences, an unlikely friendship between a talented but emotionally dama
Published February 9th 2011 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published February 1st 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Leverage, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Leverage

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sep 04, 2011 Lora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 16+
Before beginning, I just want to apologize to anyone who reads this review. It won't really help you decide whether to read this book or not. Despite the fact that I've taken a fair amount of time to collect my thoughts and calm down, my head is still laden with what I've read and I'm unable to express my feelings in the way I'd normally have it. This review is somewhat vague and most of it probably won't mean anything unless you've read this book. So for that, I apologize.

Going in, I'm not sure
This semester I'm taking a physics course and the whole idea of leverage is a cool concept. Oddly enough it makes me see the whole story in a different way. How something on its own may not have the power, but you just add some leverage and man do you see the impact. That great concept is the perfect title for this story.

The story is told by two boys who go to the same high school. Danny is a small kid but works his butt off on being an excellent gymnast. Kurtis is a massive guy that stutters,
Jubilation Lee
I was introduced to Leverage at a conference I went to earlier this year. Our speaker described it as follows:

"Leverage" is a story about unlikely friends! Kurt is one of the stars of the football team. Danny is the best male gymnast in the school. But when the two teams are forced to share the weight room together, tensions start to rise. Can Kurt and Danny work together to bridge the gap that exists between them?!

So this is great, right? It’s like Freak the Mighty but with gymnasts and muscles
Oct 11, 2011 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Leverage. We all search for it at work, home, and life whether we realize it or not. And we all possess leverage whether we realize it or not. It is how we choose to use that power, influence, and leverage that matters. How we act, respond, and move through life that counts.

Leverage by Joshua Cohen is told in two heartbreaking voices—Kurt Brodsky and Danny Meehan. Two young, strong athletes trying to carve out a spot in high school and the future with football and gymnastics. With patience and
Marita Hansen
Mar 26, 2012 Marita Hansen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, edgy-ya
WOW, WOW, and triple WOW! This is the most intense and powerful book I have ever read, and I have read A LOT. When I heard it was a male version of Speak I thought I'd give it a read, especially since I'm writing something with a similar topic (although a very different story). But, this is so much more than just relating it as a male version. The tension in this book was rippling with more than steroid bound muscles. The build up to the horrible life changing event in the gym was perfectly pace ...more
Patricia (Patricia's Particularity)
It is hard to know where to exactly begin... Joshua C. Cohen's debut novel is anything and everything BUT disappointing. I honestly cannot come up with a negative thing to say about this amazing, outstanding, one of kind, unique novel. There is so much to say about this book that I am going to have to break it down into parts....

To start, a basic overview...
Kurt is the new football star at Oregrove High School. Danny is on the Oregrove gymnastics team. Both boys have a past, full of sorrow and p
Mar 22, 2011 Terri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah (YA Love)
Review originally posted at Y.A. Love

Joshua C. Cohen is an author to watch! Leverage is an edgy, emotional, gripping debut. It will appeal to those who enjoy sports, but it’s about more than sports. It’s about loyalty, courage, and standing up for what’s right, even when the odds are against you.

Kelly at Stacked has been telling me to read this for months, but I can’t say why I put it off for so long. I’m actually made at myself for waiting so long to read Leverage. When I told my students about
Nuzaifa - Word Contessa
Jan 21, 2016 Nuzaifa - Word Contessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nuzaifa by: Savindi
THE REVIEW - Visit for more reviews.

One of the biggest misconceptions of anabolic steroid usage is that it is solely used by athletes as a performance enhancing drug.

But in fact, half of the users of steroids aren't even athletes. These “mirror athletes” use steroids in order to achieve an “ideal” body. This practice roots from prevalent adolescent body image issues that are often perpetuated by misguided internalized messages in pop culture. Often, boys are obsessed with bulki
Jan 11, 2011 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2011 is going to be such a great year for books. I went to the ALA meeting last week and just the sight of this cover reached out and grabbed me. The book did not disappoint, although based on the backcover blurb part of me expected some kind of romance between a football player and a gymnast. God was I wrong, but in a good way. Gut-wrenching drama aptly describes this coming-of-age story about two young men, opposites in so many ways except for their need to uncover the courage inside themselve ...more
Mar 21, 2011 Jessi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I am not into sports very much, what drew me to this book were the words in the summary - "emotionally damaged fullback." I wasn't sure if the focus on sports would put me off or not. I'm so glad that I took a chance and read a book that was out of my standard comfort zone because this is one of my favorite books of 2011 so far. What sets it apart is its intensity. Everything in this book is intense. Intense emotions. Intense violence. Intense character development. Intense backstory. Inte ...more
Jessica Bierschied
LEVERAGE, by Joshua C. Cohen is not my usual kind of read but in the end it left me inspired and wanting to make a difference. Cohen brought the very real problems of bullying to life almost flawlessly.

When I started this book, I wanted the prank wars that little synopsis promised to begin right away, and I was shocked at the kind of pranks that these high school characters created, they didn't seem real but Cohen's writing sucked you into a story that that gives you so many mixed emotions.

When a feud over weight training room privileges escalates between the gymnastics team and the football at the high school, a question of morality, ethics, and doing the right thing becomes all encompassing for members of these teams. Danny, a promising gymnast and Kurt, a gifted football player who has seen way too much in his young life, create a bond that gives them the strength to stand up to murderous, lying bullies.

Danny and his teammate, Bruce are witness to a brutal attack on one of the
Brenda Ayala
Feb 09, 2016 Brenda Ayala rated it it was ok
Shelves: library
A few things here I'd like to mention. First, a trigger warning: rape. I realize this may be a pretty big spoiler, but since it is the cause of most of my reactions, I'm throwing it out there right away, and it's my review space anyway so shut up.

Rape is the kind of thing I have the hardest time reading about. To me it seems even more invasive than murder. It's breaking someone down until they're completely broken. I don't like it.

With that being said, I know it is (sadly) an extremely common o
Mar 03, 2011 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely powerful. I haven't cried this much or felt so sick to my stomach since Some Girls Are (which is an excellent readalike). However, the end really bummed me out, which is why this isn't a 5-star. It felt way too cliche, too obvious. Because this kind of stuff doesn't stop.

Full review here:
Sherry Thompson
Aug 14, 2011 Sherry Thompson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kurt Brodsky is recruited as a junior to attend Oregrove High School by Coach Briggs, who hungers for a state football championship. Kurt has grown up in foster care and has had some very bad experiences in his life, not the least of which is molestation by adults. In fact, at his last group home, Mr. Sandborn, aka “Crud Bucket”, was especially horrendous and evil in his abuse, killing Kurt’s friend, Lamar. Kurt escapes from his problems by lifting weights and becoming stronger, with revenge as ...more
Oct 06, 2011 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Leverage is one of the books that once you start reading, you can not stop and when you are finished, the book and the books characters stay with you. You will find yourself wanting to share the book with others. You will find yourself screaming at the unjust situations the characters had to endure to finally find salvation, hope and courage.

However, this is not a book to share with everyone. The scenes described in the book are raw and very Intense. This is not a book that I would recommend for
Apr 09, 2013 Savindi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Older YA Readers (16 and up)
Cover Gushing Worthiness: have to admit that I prefer the hardcover version over the paperback version which looks like this Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen.For me the hardcover captures the essence of the book perfectly. As you read the book the symbol of the arm with veins protruding becomes much more clearer.

Review: I'm on a roll with reading sports YA books at the moment. I bought Leverage about two weeks ago and decided that I should start reading it because I missed reading sports YA books. Leverage did not let me down
Mar 09, 2011 Missie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, ya
I honestly don't know where to start. I'm struggling to figure out how to review or even rate this book. The first thing I should probably say is that I've never read a book like Leverage before. I've never read a book that has caused me to physically recoil, frantically trying to erase graphic images out of my mind. Reading a book like Leverage is challenging, like taking a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the face without flinching or gasping for air. But the problem is, you can't. Your throat ...more
Feb 24, 2013 Karielle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
Sports fiction will always have a special place in my heart because it combines two of my favorite things: sports and... well... fiction (okay, shut up).

I grew up with Dan Gutman and Mike Lupica, but I think Leverage was probably my first venture into older teen sports fiction, and definitely my first one about football (which, might I add, is my all-time favorite spectator sport). I know by the blurb, it sounds like another Friday Night Lights, another head-butting, sweat-packed story about the
Aug 23, 2011 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, realistic-fiction
I'm not normally into sports novels, but I have to admit my curiosity was piqued when I overheard another librarian describing Leverage as one of the most brutal YA reads they had experienced. I've always had an affinity for courageous YA books that tread disturbing little-plumbed territory, and I was proud to see that not only does this book belong in that fine category, but that it's also an excellent read.

Like most good sports fiction, this isn't really a novel about sports---it's more about
Sep 04, 2011 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4 1/2 stars

Leverage is a story told in 2 different POV's by two boys on the opposite spectrum of the high school popularity chain. Kurt comes from a troubled past but becomes the star football player, Danny is a small fraile gymnaist who keeps to himself. Both boys witness a big prank-gone-wrong bullying scene and they try to bury it within themselves so they also don't get tormented.
This is a story of bullying to extremes and the way football is played up in some high schools, I could totally
Reseña completa: Leverage

Este libro fue tan.. ¿extraño? En ciertos momentos me encantaba, pero después lo odiaba, y así estuve a lo largo de todo el libro. Lo tuve que abandonar en contadas ocasiones porque no era capaz de seguir leyendo.
The Short Version:
Gritty, intense and emotional, Leverage is a striking blend of friendship, bullying, and coming of age. With two stunningly well developed male protagonists and a setting that is easy for any reader to relate to and understand, there are some poignant and gutting truths presented throughout, both blatantly and subtly. Though upper YA in content and language, and holding some scenes that are hard to stomach, Leverage holds nothing back when it comes to realism and impact.

The Ext
Christina G
Feb 05, 2012 Christina G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-ya-ya

Wow, this book was not at all what I was expecting. I guess I was expecting a formulaic sports story along the lines of "high school athletes face challenges at home, are redeemed by sports." That's how sports stories go for older children, and that's kind of what I wanted to read on Superbowl Sunday.

What I got was something less sports-oriented (football and gymnastics were more the setting for the story than the plot), and something much, much more intense and complex.

The story is brutal and
Dec 05, 2011 Kellie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Look at that cover. Intense, right? Still, it doesn’t even begin to show how intense Leverage was. This is one of those books that is so well written and so involving that by the end the reader feels gutted.

I feel like I should point out that this is not your average sports rivalry book. It is dark and the issues escalate throughout the novel. There are consequences – big, awful consequences. It might almost be too much if it weren’t for the friendship of Danny (gymnast) and Kurt (football playe
BookChic Club
Mar 03, 2011 BookChic Club rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one REALLY intense book. Like, for reals intense. I had to actually put it down several times because I just needed a breather from it all. Cohen pulls no punches in this 400+ page novel. It's realistic, raw, heartbreaking as well as uplifting (well, in the end), and insanely intense.

If you know me at all, I am not a football fan. Yeah, I have teams I root for (Redskins and Steelers) but that's only based on familial loyalty (Mom is from Pittsburgh) or geographical proximity (I grew up
Feb 27, 2011 Temoca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish this read, I must be out of my mind! This book can give you nightmares. I don't want to frighten anyone or discourage anyone so let's sandwich the brutal reality between all the positive in Cohen's book.

Characters are well drawn out. Not only did I love Danny and Kurt, but I enjoyed several of the supporting characters and felt like I could really see them, hear them, spent a whole football/gymnastics season with them. Cohen made Tina come
OMG!!! What is there not to say about this book. Hands down one of the best books I have read this year. This book is not for the faint-hearted but those who will read it may be in for a surprise.

Written in an authentic but hypnotizing way, Leverage alternates between two main characters, Kurt and Danny. Normally I am not a fan of alternating voices as I feel that it loses the connection to the plot, but Cohen supremely constructs each chapter in a way that smoothly propels you to next chapter.
Melanie Goodman
Danny is small, but powerful. His diminutive size may keep others in the high school hierarchy from taking him seriously, but in the gymnastics world Danny is well on his way to the top. As a sophomore, he already has his eye on championships and a full-ride scholarship. Danny trains at school, during the off season, and at every optional Saturday practice. What Danny lacks in size he makes up for in will power and dedication.

Kurt is a giant. As a fullback on the football team, he is the not-so-
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Aiossa's Senior 5...: Book review Number 4 1 3 Dec 18, 2012 01:25PM  
Drake 1: Leverage Review 2 11 Nov 26, 2012 05:56AM  
Edgy YA: Leverage 4 33 Aug 11, 2012 11:16PM  
Worst ending ever? (partial spoilers) 2 18 Apr 23, 2012 08:41AM  
  • Stupid Fast (Stupid Fast, #1)
  • Now Is the Time for Running
  • Stick
  • Ripped Apart
  • Crossing Lines
  • Sister Mischief
  • Payback Time
  • Something Like Hope
  • Wonderland
  • Muckers
  • All for One
  • Illegal
  • Boy21
  • Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition
  • Any Other Night
  • My Book of Life by Angel
  • Under the Mesquite
  • Brooklyn, Burning
Joshua C. Cohen began writing "Leverage" after reading a news account of a horrific attack by a group of high school seniors on their fellow underclassmen. When the victims reluctantly came forward, instead of receiving offers of help, they were ostracized by the surrounding community for sullying the reputation of the school and causing a cancellation of the football season. Joshua's fascination ...more
More about Joshua C. Cohen...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Being a hero usually isn't much fun. It's terrifying, most of the time, right up until the point you make it out safe. It's being scared to do the right thing and doing it anyway.” 13 likes
“On any given day you have the chance to be a hero or a victim, predator or prey. Most times, circumstances are beyond your control. Other times, you got a choice but you think about it too much and you freeze up. Sometime, though, you're forced to react and it's all instinct. May not make a damn bit of difference in a bad situation. But sometimes instinct squeezes the good out of you, forces you to be a hero before you even realize it.” 9 likes
More quotes…