Monday, March 26, 2012

Review of LEVERAGE

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 paced and when it happened it was so sad. Although it was a shock (as well as shocking) it didn't come out of the blue. You'll understand what I mean if you read this, because the agro seen in those football players showed that they were capable of this horrendous act.

It was good that the reader is shown the before and after events in the story, because both were needed: the build up to the tragedy then the unwillingness to speak out against what happened. It was all about fear, such as Kurt worrying about being blamed because of what happened in his past as well as not wanting to relive things. So, you could understand how afraid he was to speak out. You could also understand Danny's fear in speaking out too, because he could very well have ended up in the same situation as the other poor boy.

I thought this book was done very realistically. The way the author described everything was spot on. His description of those three horrid boys in my opinion was accurate. I think I read some review about someone thinking that the boys' behaviour was over the top. BUT, that reviewer obviously doesn't understand what roid rage is. Even though those boys obviously had an innate evil in them, an inability to empathise, you could also see the part in the tragedy that the steroids played. I instantly understood the description of one of the boys and realised he was taking steroids due to the severe pimples on his neck, which is a side effect. People would probably just assume that the acne problem was a teenage thing. No, it was related to steroids just as much as the way in which the boy was beating his chest in anger, almost caveman like (roid rage). Hence, I thought the villains were described extremely well.

This book is portrayed from two perspectives: Danny and Kurt's. Kurt's character is someone that captured me from the start. He was both strong and vulnerable, and misunderstood with his stutter. The way he put himself in the line of fire to protect those smaller boys showed his beautiful nature. Combine this with his past and it shows how terribly brave he was. He was by far my favourite.

There was a little warming up needed for Danny, especially with his annoyance at Ronnie at the beginning: Not liking people thinking him and Ronnie were the same, his annoyance at Ronnie's weaknesses... But, I could understand where he was coming from because he didn't want to be shown as weak, which is why he was less friendly to Ronnie. And, when all the horrible stuff went down his pushing away of Ronnie was heartbreaking. You could see it was done out of fear, but the way in which he worked through the fear and eventually manned up took a lot of guts considering who he was going up against and the huge risks he was taking. He was a scared kid.

I loved the ending and thought what Danny and Kurt did, along with Tina, was perfect.

5stars isn't enough for this book. Once the pace snags you it is very hard to put down. Absolutely intense.

Link to Leverage on Amazon: Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


review This certainly deserves all the accolades it has gotten. I was totally transfixed by Melinda's inner voice, and thought she was extremely well portrayed. I read this in a day and even though there are slower areas I still didn't want to stop. The things that made this story so good were:

1) Melinda's thoughts, her sarcastic but vulnerable way at looking at things. You could see how depressed she was, but no one truly looked at her, with maybe the exception of the art teacher who recognised pain in her sculpture.
2) Melinda's actions and her unwillingness to talk was spot on. There was nothing outrageous or unrealistic about her behaviour, she was a normal girl who'd been put through a harrowing experience. She went through daily life trying to cope with what had happened to her and doing things that one would expect from a girl in her situation.
3) As said above, it was realistic. I think this type of book is also good for teenagers to read as they are at their most vulnerable at this age and what Melinda went through is a lesson or warning in what not to do, eg. the party scenario where she put herself in danger without realising it. Although it wasn't her fault as to what happened, kids need to be taught situation awareness just as much as lessons like English and Maths. Additionally, this book also encourages people to speak out, the title in this case so appropriate.
4) This is the type of book that should be in schools, not the unrealistic old fantasy stories or books that put students asleep. Kids would learn from this book. I think girls more, but in cases boys would also. They should be taught that this is how girls are affected, not the objectifying way girls/women are depicted on TV. After reading this book I gave it to my daughter, and we are both watching the film together now.
5) The topic is gutsy and well handled.

I'll stop here. Again, I think females will appreciated this more than guys, but still it's a very good book and thoroughly deserving of 5stars.