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Levi was simple, like a child. It was the best thing about him, and it was the worst, too. 

When high school senior Jonas moves to Seattle, he is glad to meet Levi, a nice, soft-spoken guy and fellow basketball player. Suspense builds like a slow drumbeat as readers start to smell a rat in Ryan Hartwell, a charismatic basketball coach and sexual predator. When Levi reluctantly tells Jonas that Hartwell abused him, Jonas has to decide whether he should risk his future career to report the coach. Pitch-perfect basketball plays, well-developed characters, and fine storytelling make this psychological sports novel a slam dunk.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published November 5, 2013

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Carl Deuker

19 books275 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 379 reviews
Profile Image for Elizabeth (Elzburg).
354 reviews950 followers
July 30, 2019
RTC. Until then, my notes:
• this book has the most actual playtime out of any sports novel I've ever read so far
• i really dislike the really short chapters
• i really dislike the juvenile writing style, however it does perfectly match the main character
• i'm in actual mourning after the author *major spoiler* . That monster. i read it while i was foam rolling and had to shove my kobo away and get up to take a walk. i actually cried so much and so hard
• i let it sit for a few days and I still shed a single tear for *same major spoiler* after I came back to this book. this is the single saddest *same major spoiler* I have the ever experienced
Profile Image for Phil J.
726 reviews56 followers
December 29, 2018
My least favorite of the three Deuker books I've read. The characters and situations were so convenient that the whole thing felt like a puppet show. It was like Deuker wrote the ending first and then just plugged in whatever would get him there the fastest.

In Gym Candy, Deuker painted a picture of a person making bad choices and doing bad things for reasons that the reader did not agree with, but could understand. It set up a great, conflicted feeling, and it drove the story. The characters in this book are so obviously chosen for plot convenience that the reader is just patiently waiting around for the train wreck to happen.
4 reviews1 follower
May 22, 2019
Swagger by Carl Deuker. I thought the book was very interesting and very surprising. Their were many exciting parts of the book. This book was around 300 pages and fit in plenty of detail in the book. Like at the beginning of the book, he told me where his family lived Seattle and how his mom is a barber and his dad was a construction worker. It’s rare for some books to explain a lot immediately. I’ve never read a book by Carl Deuker, but I think I’m going to read another one of his books. I see why this book won an Eliot Rosewater award in 2015 to 2016. I felt like I was the main character in book going through his life.
Swagger is about a kid named Jonas Dolan and how he plays basketball. He isn’t your average basketball player. He is the starting point guard for his basketball team in California. He is so good that he has D2 scholarship from Monitor College, but what happens when he moves too Seattle because his dad got a job offer? Will he make friends? Will he be the starting point guard for his new basketball team?
1 review
June 8, 2017
I finished reading the book “Swagger” by Carl Deuker. In this basketball based book the main character in this book Jonas, a star stunning point guard, has earned a scholarship to Monitor College for basketball, but soon he has to work harder to keep chasing that goal. Soon after he moves to Seattle and now must adapt to the environment. Once there, he makes friends with a neighbor named Levi, and they soon grow closer and closer as friends. He has to try and work even harder than before, to maintain that scholarship at his new school Harding High. During this time he faces many different obstacles, and he further more challenges himself and his team at Harding High. He must learn the importance of friendship, and teamwork, to further achieve his goal in life. But the worst of them all he has to accept his mistakes and failures, and also learn who to trust, but out of all he must accept lose.

Something I liked in this book was, how every time I re-read this book one thing sticks to me and just leaves me there woke and fazed is how Jonas finds out that his best friend Levi has died, and how Jonas is fazed and the news just leaves the entire school in pain, right after a big win for their school in the championship. In the text it states, “The gym quieted, and then Mr. Diaz’s-- in short, simple sentences-- told the school of Levi’s death. When he finished speaking, girls leaned on one another’s shoulder and sobbed. Guys cradled their heads in their heads. Everyone at Harding High knew Levi -- he was the six-six guy in the hallways who was kind to everybody. Always. I bowed my head and felt my shoulders shake. I couldn’t let myself cry though, because If I started, I’d never stop” (Deuker 261). This shows that the death of Levi left everyone in pain and awe, and for me to be feeling the same feeling as the characters In the book shows the depth of the meaning In the book, and how hard it is to accept lose. Just like the characters, I feel the depth of pain of losing someone close, and how devastating it is to keep something that heavy stuck with you for your whole life. Jonas then realizes that the death of Levi was because of their coach. He was doing things that Levi couldn’t handle the weight of. He was doing things that were wrong, and he no longer could handle suffering. In the text it states, “It was right then--right when my throat ached so much it was hard to breathe-- that I saw Hartwell. He was speaking with Mr. Diaz his face solemn, his eyes cast downward. I hated him; I hated him to the core. He killed my friend; he killed the best person I’d ever known, the best person I ever will know. He’d taken Levi’s simple heart and twisted it until it has snapped” (262). Jonas is unleashing his pain on the person who he believes made Levi die. This makes me think even harder because, it adds more drama to the book which makes it more interesting. I think that Jonas believes that he must first get rid of Hartwell to then get over Levis death. It still has me thinking on how hard it is to lose someone so close, and how our emotions change on the point of view or side you take. It is from your actions you can get over lose, rather than letting it sink in and make it worst than it already is.

Something I noticed about this writing is that it is written in First Person, as the story is being told by the POV of the character Jonas. Throughout the story, he talks about the vast vicious vigorous journey to the championship. These give intense memories, both good and bad. The journey was hard as a rock, and as he explains, he had to help his team claw towards the finish. These memories can relate to the reader, as we as humans, create our own memories that we can remember being challenging, and very difficult. But sooner or later we overcome them, which leads the reader being in relation the book. It has a ride or different emotions, crashing hard as waves. At one point in the book, Jonas and his team have to go against the hardest team ever known to mankind, and how they defeated them, which created a memory that would never be forgotten. In the text it states “A second later, Cash grabbed me from behind and swung me towards center court. Suddenly all the guys were there, and we jumped around for a while, a crazed mob, all of us as one. Every once in awhile, I peeked back up at the scoreboard. The numbers didn’t change. We’d beaten Garfield. We were state champions” (248). I suddenly was rushed by different emotions, but I soon I was filled with joy as my emotions run wild. This connects me to the book by so much because I can relate to it, and the emotions give me memories I won’t forget. Jonas along with his team, created a memory unforgetable, which shows how this book is written, it ties in with your emotions. I was thinking that the author was trying to target middle schoolers, and how they can interact with their emotions and can create ones that cannot be forgotten. I think that the author wants us to start making memories that we soon won't forget. He ties in the story with memories, and how powerful they could be to impact us. We have to try and live to the fullest, and live while we're young.

Profile Image for J. Taylor.
1,374 reviews29 followers
August 23, 2019
I was not expecting Levi to die. The way he changes and then he dies, it's so goddamm sad because Levi was such a sweet person. And yet it made perfect sense that it would go this way for him because that's how predators like Ryan work.

The basketball terms did got over my head but I was invested in their games. And that old coach, I appreciate he apologized for not putting Jonas in but why be such a stick in the mud about playing the game your way even when it's proved doing so loses you the game, they would never have won at all if Ryan hadn't taken out their old coach.

I liked how Cash went from this jerk at the start to actually being a decent guy. And I liked Jonas apart from the point when he was like, play the game first and then we're see about what to do about Ryan, like your priorities are out of whack dude.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Billy Newman.
12 reviews2 followers
March 1, 2018
This book was very good and hard to put down. There were no slow parts and new things were always happening. In the end, it did get sad, but overall this book is a five-star read.
1 review1 follower
March 5, 2019
Swagger is a realistic fiction book by Carl Deuker, this harrowing story entails the struggles and adventures of a highschool point guard named Jonas. One of my favorite parts is when coach Knecht has to leave during the fourth quarter of the Garfield game and Jonas finally has a chance to show his skills, I like this part because it really shows that Jonas should be starting, it is also a very revealing part of the story. I would recommned this book to anyone who loves sports and great story because it is written extremely well and is an all around great story.
Profile Image for Lonna Pierce.
756 reviews13 followers
January 18, 2014
This is a very different sports novel about a talented point guard, Jonas Dolan, from a blue collar family, who gets an unexpected chance at a college basketball scholarship if he can improve his slacker academics. Enter 6'6" Levi Rawdon, a shy forward from a strict, religious family who becomes Jonas's friend and teammate. Summer basketball scout, Mr. Hartwell, appears to be the ideal new high school coach as he tutors Levi, shows Jonas how to cheat at chemistry, invites the team to beer and movie parties, and brings the team to a state championship; all the while keeping a shameful secret. A chilling, realistic bombshell of a book, helpful websites (www.stopitnow.org and www.rainn.org)are included at the conclusion.
December 18, 2017
“Swagger”, by Carl Deuker, is a book about the negative effects of irresponsible adult on our society, mainly kids. The book begins with a high schooler named Jonas Dolan who lives in Redwood City, California. He is a basketball player who, up until now, assumed he would work at the company his dad works at without going to college. His basketball coach come to him and shows him a college that he could apply for, and he applies and is being considered for the college. He starts working to boost his questionable grades for a higher chance to get into this college, which is called Monitor College. Due to financial shortcomings, Jonas and his family have to move to Seattle. When he gets to Seattle, and they start moving in, he meets his his neighbor, Levi Rawdon, a six foot six basketball player, and a very strict Christian. He becomes good friends with Levi, and he tries out for the basketball team at Sequoia High, his new school, and he makes it as the point guard. The coach for Sequoia is Coach Knecht, an old man who has very strange rules, such as no dunking, and always run the same play on offense, and he makes everyone call him “sir”. No one really likes him, but Levi kind of idolizes him. Just before the season starts, they meet a young man in his mid twenties whose name is Ryan Hartwell. He invites them to his apartment, where he gives them beer and lets them watch inappropriate movies. Levi doesn’t watch any of the movies, or drink any beer, he leaves instead. Jonas follows Levi out of the party. When the basketball season starts, they find out that Hartwell is going to be their assistant coach. Coach Knecht constantly benches Jonas and makes them lose games with his crappy plays, but he insists on doing them. Whenever Hartwell can take charges, he does, and the team ends up winning. Knecht and Hartwell have constant disputes, and Levi still is the only one that favors Knecht. At a practice, Coach Hartwell is running, and he slams into Coach Knecht, who breaks a few bones and is immediately sent to the hospital in an unstable condition. The team starts winning again, but Jonas’s grades in chemistry aren’t the best because of his hard teacher. Coach Hartwell shows Jonas a computer that has answers for every test and quiz for that class, and he starts cheating. Jonas also tries to help Levi get his grades up because he is failing almost every class. When Jonas realizes he can’t tutor Levi and keep his own grades up, he finds out that Coach Hartwell is willing to help. Levi grades shoot up, but Levi is acting strange. He seems depressed and more introverted. He also seems to stay away from Coach Hartwell. Jonas soon find out from Levi that Hartwell has been making him do some bad stuff, but Levi won’t let him say anything about it. In addition, after realizing that Hartwell is capable of doing stuff like this, he adds up all the clues and figures out that Hartwell knocked over Coach Knecht so that he would die, and then he could take his job. Later, Jonas and Levi are at this party at someone’s house, when Levi just leaves, and takes Jonas’s car. He drove to the woods, where he has always enjoyed hiking, and walks by himself. Sadly, a snowstorm hit while he was out there. They found Levi’s body a few days later. Jonas has to speak up now, Hartwell basically just killed his best friend. Hartwell is fired, and sent to jail, but Jonas has been rejected by Monitor College due to his cheating in chemistry.
I think this book shows that when people look up to someone, that someone has a lot of weight resting on their shoulders, be sue they have a lot of influence over those people. When an adult is not trustworthy, and they end up doing stuff like this for their own benefit, they can really have a huge impact on some innocent people’s lives. Adults are supposed to be people that younger people can look up to, and seek help in. However, as described in this book, many adults in the world are not good role models, failing to see their own flaws and thinking of their own personal gain instead. A good example of selfish, irresponsible adults negatively impacting innocent people’s lives is that at the same time that Hartwell was forcing Levi to do inappropriate things, he also helped Jonas cheat. So after Levi had died, and Jonas felt the need to feel someone, not only did Ryan Hartwell ruin the lives of Levi’s family by causing one of their family members to die, but he also stopped Jonas from being able to go to Monitor College because he showed him those answers. Without Hartwell manipulating Jonas into thinking cheating was okay, Jonas would have studied to pass chemistry legitimately. I thought this book was really good because it was written so that you didn’t really know the characters all at once. You would learn about them in little bits. That is what allowed the author to build the plot as they did. They really were able to create a story that wasn’t predictable, and had a good ending, without making it a cheesy, “happily ever after” type ending. The few complaints I have are that Carl Deuker did not do very much with the idea of basketball in the story. He basically just used basketball as a way for Levi and Jonas to know Hartwell, all of Carl Deuker’s other books have some sport being the main thing that everything else kind of revolves around. This book talked more about the events in the real world, with Levi and Hartwell. The other complaint I have is that the title of the book, “Swagger”, does not make any sense for this book. Swagger means to act in a way that is supposed to impress others, or to be confident to the point of arrogance. Since none of the characters really did these things, this title doesn’t make sense. Overall, this was a good book, and I would recommend it to everyone.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Olivia Hennis.
Author 9 books42 followers
December 3, 2017

Jonas Dolan is a shockingly levelheaded kid when it comes to following his heart, the truth, and his dreams. It is easy to understand how Jonas and his friends are seduced into less than stellar situations, including watching R-rated movies, drinking beer, and cheating. When Levi entrusts Jonas with the secret of Hartwell’s sexual abuse, Jonas starts to question the effervescent young coach.

Something that readers who are abuse survivors will appreciate is how subtly Levi shares his trauma with Jonas. Where other novels might languish in all the gory details for shock value, Levi’s religious, child-like nature–he can’t even say ‘damn’ as one character later points out—allow him to remind us that he is a person who has been through a terrible tragedy, and not linger on the act itself. While Levi struggles with that point, it is never anything Jonas questions. Levi’s sexuality is never marked because of how an adult corrupted his innocence.

The many supportive, caring adults, contrasting with Hartwell, stand as sharp positives to Jonas and Levi’s story. Equally Levi’s oldest sister is a well-developed, strongly defined character who could have used even more face time.

Appropriate for ages 13+. Contains mild alcohol use, sexual assault situations, some strong language, and intense situations. Deals with friendship, family, secrets, sportsmanship, honesty and integrity, sexuality, abuse of power and authority, and death.

Readers would benefit from further discussion on sexual assault, and how men and women can both be targets and perpetrators of abuse. Jonas’s story remind us all that adults in positions of responsibility only maintain respect and trust as long as they continue to deserve it.

If you…

– Enjoy ripped-from-the-headlines plots
– Want a tough topic handled with respect and hopefulness
– Have ever held a friend’s secret
– Are a fan of sports tales

[[Review originally featured at https://youngentertainmentmag.com/swa... ]]
Profile Image for Richie Partington.
1,103 reviews129 followers
August 4, 2013
Richie's Picks: SWAGGER by Carl Deuker, Houghton Mifflin, November 2013, 304p., ISBN: 978-0-547-97459-0

"God is a concept by which we measure our pain." -- John Lennon (1970)

"Once I discovered he was [a forward] on the Harding High team, questions jumped into my mind. Did Harding have a point guard? Could the guy shoot? Could he pass? Could he run a fast break? Did I have a chance to beat him out for the starting spot? I didn't ask Levi any of them. I didn't know him well enough, not then. Besides, I was afraid of what the answers might be.
"There was a long moment of silence. 'You must also play football,' I said, scrambling for another topic, 'Tight end? Linebacker? Quarterback?'
"Levi's mouth turned down, and he shook his head. 'I won't play football. It's a sin to hurt another human being on purpose.'
"'A sin?' I asked, not sure I'd heard correctly.
"'Yes. A sin.'
"Was he joking? What kid ever talked about sin? I nearly laughed, but I caught myself. I'm glad I did, because if Levi thought I was laughing at religion -- at God -- he'd have gone back into that squashed house of his, and I'd have never known him. I'd have played on the Harding High team with him; but I wouldn't have known him. At the end, everything went wrong. But knowing Levi -- being his best friend -- that had been right."

A junior in a high school just outside San Francisco, Jonas Dolan has developed into a solid point guard on the varsity basketball team. Not being big enough or fast enough to ever dream of playing professionally, Jonas figures he'll likely join his dad in working at the local sand and gravel plant after graduating. But with Jonas's game getting better and better, his coach introduces him to the notion of seeking out an athletic scholarship from some Division II college. Coach Russell arranges for Jonas to be filmed in action and helps Jonas send out DVD copies to dozens of Division II institutions. In response, interest is expressed by a coach across the country at Monitor College, but he makes it clear to Jonas -- who has never been much of a student -- that he will have to get his academic game on, too, if he wants to be considered by Monitor.

Just as Jonas is beginning to get it all together, his father suffers a series of bad breaks at work and his parents end up selling the house and moving up to Seattle where, after the summer, Jonah will begin his senior year at Harding High. Six-six Levi lives down the street from Jonas's new home, and the two begin building a solid friendship. They spend the latter portion of the summer playing together in informal pick-up games against rival high school crews at a nearby community center. And it is at the center that they meet twenty-something Ryan Hartwell, who is clearly a former player of some sort and who has the teaching ability to really help them polish their skills on the court. But it is also clear from his behavior that Hartwell is a bit of a sketchy character. Which makes it especially surprising when, on the first day of school, he appears at Harding High as a new teacher and the new assistant basketball coach.

"'What would Jesus do?' Levi finally said. 'That's what I ask myself when things like this happen. The answer always comes, and then I do what Jesus would do.'
"I wondered: Was it really that simple? Who knows? Maybe when Jesus was seventeen, he'd have had a beer and watched the babes. I smiled at the thought but I didn't say anything to Levi. I knew better than to make that kind of joke with him."

Levi is an incredibly fascinating character: The obedient son of a preacher who doesn't see value in sports and has never once seen Levi play. A tall, solid kid, who has been accepting of all the guys calling him Dumb Dumb. A barely-passing student (despite trying really hard) and an exceptionally kind human being to everyone who crosses his path. A kid who knows everything about everything out in nature, and can produce amazing sketches of leaves and woodland creatures -- from memory and drawn from multiple perspectives -- but a kid who can barely pass relatively easy tests at school. (He'd had to sit out the last month of the previous year's season because of his grades.) All this, and his friendship with Jonah, make for such a remarkable set-up.

SWAGGER is filled with plenty of on-the-court action -- which will please readers who are looking for that -- but it is the off-court issues we encounter that really make this one a notable book.

Among the important issues in SWAGGER is that of sexual predators and teens. Here are some facts I found on the website of the California Attorney General's office:

"Of sexual assaults against people age 12 and up, approximately 80% of the victims know the offender."
"In the majority of cases, abusers gain access to their victims through deception and enticement, seldom using force."
"Most child sexual abusers offend against children whom they know and with whom they have established a relationship."

This is really important to understand. According to the Attorney General, the odds are against a perpetrator being a random stranger. It's far most likely to be someone a teen already knows well.

And, yes, this is unquestionably a heavy issue to be laying on adolescents. But are we better off leaving adolescents vulnerable and in the dark for the sake of not wanting to talk about bad things that they and their friends may fall victim to, or do we provide them knowledge that might save a life?

It is with this question in mind that I'm strongly advocating the purchase and promotion of this powerful high school sports story.

Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com
Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_... http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/people/facult...
3 reviews1 follower
September 8, 2019
My final book I read over the summer wa Swagger by Carl Deuker. The book is about a high school point guard who moves schools to try and get college offers. Jonas meets a kid named Levi who also plays on the basketball team. Together they face challenges like there strict coach and grades. This book does have some bad language but overall it was a solid read and I would recommend if you want an easy interesting read.
15 reviews
September 10, 2019
"He said that God had a plan for all of us and that sometimes that plan was a mystery, and this is where faith came in" (Deuker 267). I knew from the opening introduction that there was going to be some form of conflict in the story, but I didn't know when that conflict was going to occur. Sure, when Jonas began to cheat in his chemistry class that could be chalked up as a conflict, but it never felt like one. Turns out, it wasn't the main conflict. In fact, it was something much bigger that completely caught me off-guard. I would reveal more that would only be detrimental to future readers, so for that reason, I now encourage you to take a look into this twisting story.
May 23, 2018
Have you ever played the game of Basketball? Well the main character in Swagger loves the game, but he has to make a decision either play basketball or hangout with friends and make poor decisions with their lives. I would compare this story to many other basketball stories, and would recommend this book to anyone who likes basketball.
27 reviews
September 17, 2019
Swagger is my favorite sportsbook. Out of all the sportsbooks, this is my favorite. At the beginning of the book, the boy moves to a whole new school. He has no faith in himself, he also has no friends. He finally makes a friend from his basketball team from the school. This boy's friend helps him and the boy helps him back. Together they make a great team. When one of them gets sad the other one picks him back up. The lesson learned from this is that you need only one good friend to make the difference.
Profile Image for Liz B.
1,685 reviews17 followers
December 31, 2022
This is (not surprisingly) really good. It's a book about an Issue, and of its time--it came out shortly after the revelations about the disgusting Jerry Sandusky, Penn State coach. But while it's about an
Issue, it's also about friendship and growing up and (perhaps mostly) sports. It's a very good read, and still relevant, and contradicts everything the book banning faction of the Right has to say about books and grooming.

(Let me be specific here. Books do not groom. Predators groom. Books that show kids how predators groom are HELPFUL and CAUTIONARY.)
Profile Image for Olivia Verboven.
10 reviews
November 29, 2017
The book Swagger by Carl Deuker is a realistic fiction book. This book is about a boy named Jonas who moves to Seattle and meets a boy named Levi that lives down the street. Jonas and Levi both play basketball Jonas was a starter at his old school and hopes to get there at this school too. They are just practicing basketball when they meet a guy named Ryan Hartwell who at the time don't know is the assistant coach at their high school. Season starts Levi is not doing well in school and needs to get his grades up in order to stay on the team. Hartwell and Jonas tutor him but Jonas finds out that Hartwell has been abusing Levi he doesn't know if he should risk everything he's worked for and call out Hartwell or ignore it and his playing time and spot on the team will remain safe. If you like the book Boy 21 by Matthew Quick you will like this book Swagger by Carl Deuker.
11 reviews
March 10, 2020
I thought this book was a very interesting and entertaining book. The plot wouldn't be the same without the setting that's for sure. But overall I think this is a great book to read and you should read it if your into basketball!
2 reviews
March 22, 2018
The book is really good and if you're looking for a book that talks about hard work this is the book and also has good drama and a suspenseful ending.
Profile Image for Andrew 2/3.
9 reviews2 followers
April 10, 2019
Swagger is a very entertaining book and describes a lot of modern day teen problems. This book is recommended for me.
8 reviews
October 21, 2020
I really like this book and you like basketball I recommend reading this book
Profile Image for KyleW.
4 reviews
October 17, 2016
I really enjoyed this book. I would for sure give it five stars. Even if you are not into sports this is a good book for you. It tells a story of a boy who has to go through some struggles but manages to do what is right. It is a great book and I recommend it to anyone.
Profile Image for Jarrett Behrends.
5 reviews1 follower
September 22, 2021
I give this book 5 stars.The reason I do is because it was action-filled.
This book is intended for 13 and older most likely for full understanding. Younger children would not understand all of it, but adults could definitely read and enjoy this book.
To support my recommendation, I'll give some points. The book always has something going on, whether good or bad. It keeps you on edge, not knowing what will happen.
A reader who loves action and is able to handle highs and lows in a story would really enjoy this read.
Profile Image for Logan S.
1 review1 follower
September 27, 2017
This was a fun book to read. It had a lot of action and movement. Jonas was a nice, athletic teenager. He also was with Levi and also went to play basketball at Green Lake or outside. He never took a day off of basketball in the summer. His team made it to the championship game and won. They hosted a celebration after the game. But it was a sad part were Levi was missing and so was Jonas's truck. The police were looking for him but they couldn't find him. But Jonas knew where he was. The police found his body. Levi was dead. Jonas is really smart and some how he knew that it was coach Hartwell for Levi's death. But none of Jonas's teammates wanted to speak up. But at the end of the book Cash told the truth that there were 4 partys with beer, bad movies at Hartwell's house. Hartwell was arrested.
Profile Image for George Bielizna.
1 review1 follower
March 29, 2015
Personally, I have read many of Carl Deuker's books in the past and if you're someone who enjoys a well written sports narrative that also includes life lessons, then Swagger's a great place to start. Deuker is a go to writer for sports inspired books. He is accurate, descriptive, and always throws in some moral dilemma.

The book begins with a detailed description of our main character. Jonas is a short, stocky point guard for his high school team, and at first, thought his skills weren't god enough for the college scene, but his coach inspires him to film himself playing, and send it to Division II schools across the country. This sparks some attention towards a lot of schools (a lot more than Jonas was expecting). But right as Jonas became comfortable with his situation, his family hit financial troubles, had to sell their house, and move to Seattle.
Jonas was schedules to attend a new high school in the fall, and without his old coach to help him with his selection of a college, he began to feel lost. For a few weeks, Jonas had nothing to do, school hadn't started yet for his senior year, and he wanted more than anything to play basketball. During a summer pick-up game, he meets six foot six inch Levi Rawdon. Levi, who is a gentle giant, is not strong academically and has difficulty remaining eligible to play basketball. He will become Jonah's best friend and teammate.

At the pick-up game Jonah also meets Ryan Hartwell, a confident, twenty-something man, who befriends the boys and invites the pick-up team to his apartment for a party, Hartwell serves beers to all the boy who are well underage.

When a tragic death occurs among the Basketball team, Jonas has to make some tough, life changing decisions and deal with people can that absolutely ruin his. Coach Hartwell becomes the head coach once the season starts and has taken control of the players physically, and some, mentally. When Levi becomes depressed and ultimately lethargic (along with some of the other players on the team), Jonas searches for the root of the problem and finds it within Coach Hartwell.

The novel includes descriptions of many basketball plays and strategies, which makes this book particularly appealing to fans of the game. The plotting is otherwise somewhat slow, but short, rapid fire chapters, but once Jonas (and readers) figure out what’s going on with Coach Hartwell, the pace quickens, and Jonas’s struggle to do the right thing intensifies.

Swagger is a well written novel that is about so much more than basketball. Carl Deuker tells a story that takes off at the speed of light and drives hard to the very last page. The intense sports action makes this book an excellent choice for basketball fans, but it's all the other elements that the author manages to include so seamlessly that make this a must read, even if you don't know a thing about basketball.

I give the book a 4 out of a possible 5 stars because of it's lack of attention to the social issue at hand. Although I think Jonas does what is right in the end, his decision may have been much more suspenseful if the factors from both issues were equal. The book is filled to the brim with basketball and I think some of those parts could have been cut out or shortened - not that I didn't enjoy them. The chances that you'll stay attentive while reading this book if you're not the biggest basketball fan are fairly low.
1 review1 follower
September 27, 2016
This book report is for Rebecca Orana English IV. The name of the book is Swagger By Carl Deuker. There is 297 pages and the publisher is Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I decided to read this book because I like reality stories. A story that can actually happen in real life is enjoyable for me to read.
Jonas is the main character in this book he is a basketball player who has a chance for a full ride scholarship but has to move due to his family and is nervous about life and basketball in a new city. The story starts in mid 2012 in California where he is from and gives a little bit of a backstory but a majority of the story is in Seattle. When he moves to Seattle it's in the middle of the summer.He then meets a kid named Levi, a tall kid who is a little odd because he always refer to god or to sin. But Levi was the first person he met and has always been a good friend. Also he introduced him to the basketball team in the summer at a local gym. He then learns that the coach has his own style of playing and won't change it even if it causes them to lose. Jonas then get nervous because what if that messes up his scholarship opportunity? So once the season starts he is automatically riding the bench and is putting up numbers on the board for the whole game that he would normally do in one quarter at his other school. There is an assistant coach named Coach Hartwell. He is the “cool” coach, over the summer he invited the teens over to his apartment to drink and then chill by the pool with some ladies. Hartwell thinks Jonas should be starting and running the team but he doesn't have the power to do so. Towards the end of the book The head coach Kentch gets sick and can't coach anymore which leaves hartwell to coach. There is only 4 more games left when this happens but Jonas balls out and tries to still have a chance for that full ride scholarship. During that time he finds out that Coach Hartwell sexually abused Levi. Levi is a very quiet guy and isn't the type to tell anyone about something like that but him and Jonas grew so close over time that he felt comfortable enough to tell him that had happened. So Jonas is torn if whether he should tell someone or confront Coach Hartwell about it or play the rest of the season and just try to ignore it and focus on basketball. He chooses to just focus on basketball but by the end of the season he learns that he can no longer have that scholarship and has to find somewhere to go. He finds a college named Shoreline and plans to play his heart out for 1-2 years then go to a college where he can get it a transfer scholarship.
My final thoughts on this book is that it is one of the best books I’ve ever read it has all the characteristics I look for in a book. Such as the ups and downs and the suspense and the fight to succeed. Also some of the dramas in this book are some stuff you wouldn't expect to read in a basketball story. I learned that if you never give up and try your hardest you will somehow succeed in the end, even if it's not the route you strived for. I would highly recommend this book to others and I hope they would enjoy it as much as I did.
28 reviews2 followers
May 24, 2016
By Carl Dueker
By Michael Hickey

Personal response: I really like this book. I did not think that i was going to like it because it was about basketball, but it had a really great story. I looked forward to reading this book everyday.
Plot: The book starts out with a kid named Jonas who lives in California. He is really good at basketball but never thought about playing college ball. His coach talks to him and they make a video of him playing basketball to send to the Monitor College coach. He is really impressed but Jonas does not have very good grades. Jonas knows that if he wants a scholarship, he has got to get his grades up. He starts studying and asks for help. Everything is going perfect until his dad gets fired from his job.
Jonas’ uncle came to their house and offered his dad a job. It was a very good job and payed good. The only bad thing was that if he took the job, they would have to move to Washington. This could ruin Jonas’ college opportunities. They moved and got settled in. There was a kid looking at the from across the street. His name was Levi and he was one of their neighbors. Jonas and Levi became good friends. They went camping and played basketball all of the time. School started there and Jonas started working hard and studying. He did not like basketball practice. His new coach was old and ran a slow offense. Jonas likes to run a quick one. He also fell behind in chemistry looked to the assistant for help. He said that there was a computer with all the test answers on it in the library. Jonas went there and got all the answers he wanted. Levi was also stuggling with school so, the assistant coach, Hartwell, helped him. Game time came up and Jonas barely got to play. He needed a lot of playing time to get the scholarship. One practice, Hartwell ran in to their head coach, Coach Knecht, and he was put in the hospital.
Hartwell made Levi a starter and they began to win games. Levi was really upset for some reason. He was usually never upset. Everytime Jonas would ask him what was wrong, he would say nothing. Jonas finally got it out of him and Levi said the Hartwell sexually abused him during their study times. Now, Jonas is faced with a very hard decison, he either has to tell on Hartwell for letting him cheat and sexually abusing Levi, or keep cheating and get the scholarship.
Characters: Jonas is a junior/senior in highschool in this book. He is the main character. He is about 6 feet tall and is lean. Another character in this book is Levi. He is a very tall guy and has red hair. He is very religious and does not do anything against his beliefs. Another character is Coach Hartwell. He just got out of college and wants to be the head coach. He makes a lot of really bad decisons like helping Jonas cheat, giving some players beer, and sexually abusing Levi.
Rating/Recommendation: I would rate this book at 9 out of 10 stars. It was a really good book and had an amazing story. There was a lot of more mature content so i would recommend this to high schoolers and older.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
October 25, 2017
Jonas Dolan is an above average basketball player who has his eyes set on a scholarship to Monitor College. When his dad is offered a job in Seattle, Jonas’s family moves there and Jonas is immediately introduced to a neighbor named Levi. Levi is also a great basketball player. Jonas and Levi play pick-up basketball almost everyday. It is at that gym in early July when Levi and Jonas meet Ryan Hartwell. He helps them both develop their game throughout the summer. To celebrate the end of summer, he invites them to his apartment for a party. He allows them to drink alcohol (illegal since all they are 17) and watch R-rated movies. Levi and Jonas refuse and leave early, but before they go, Hartwell makes them promise not to tell anybody. It is revealed a few days later that Hartwell will be their assistant coach. For the scholarship, Jonas needs to have certain grades in certain classes. Jonas immediately hates his chemistry teacher and knows it will be hard to get a B. Hartwell knows about the scholarship that Jonas is trying to get and shows him a way to cheat in chemistry. Levi on the other hand has trouble with all of his classes. Hartwell agrees to tutor Levi and meets with him after practice everyday to study. Practices and games with Head Coach Knect are boring as all they do is run plays and Jonas sits on the bench most of the time. After an “accident” at practice, Hartwell becomes head coach. As the team improves, Levi gets continually worse. Then one night, Levi reveals to Jonas that during some of those study times, Hartwell abused him in ways that aren’t school appropriate. As the team wins the state championship and goes out to celebrate, Levi kills himself up in the mountains. Jonas reports what Hartwell did to him and loses his scholarship in the process for cheating.

I really enjoyed this book and I think that if you enjoy sports (especially basketball) that you will enjoy this book as well. The author was very descriptive and you could feel the emotion in his writing. Also, if a story that contains abuse makes you uncomfortable then don’t read this. But otherwise, this is a great read and I highly recommend it.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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15 reviews1 follower
November 20, 2014
The main characters in this adventure, realistic fiction, and mystery book are Levi, Jonas, and Ryan Hartwell. The author of this book Swagger is Carl Dueker. Jonas is a basketball player who is getting a scholarship offer from Monitor College. The high school he is now attending is Harding. Jonas's family is moving to Seattle because his dad got fried from his job and his dad has got a job with his uncle in a Seattle restaurant. Jonas is worried because he has to get good grades in a new school and start over from scratch on the basketball team with kids he doesn't know. Jonas becomes to become great friends with Levi his neighbor. He developed good chemistry with him and the other Harding players be playing over the summer. Their coach, Coach Knecht gets hit in the back by assistant coach Ryan when he was running up and down the court. Mr.Knecht gets a broken hip, fractured collarbone, and concussion. Mr.Hartwell takes over and promotes Jonas to starter and plays uptempo basketball instead of Knecht's slow tempo and they start to win many games because he watched Jonas play over the summer and he liked the way he played. Levi grades aren't good and he gets tutored by Jonas and Mr.Hartwell. His grades start to improve but, there is something bothering Levi after a backpacking trip on New Years with Mr.Hartwell and starts to affect his life and his game. Will Levi ever tell Jonas or anyone what happens or keep it a secret between him and Mr.Hartwell. To find out what happens read on! If you like Foul Trouble by John Feinstein because it is about a player overcoming adversity and fate that stands in his way of becoming what he wants to be.
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