Thursday, January 21, 2016

Post Reading: Leverage - Joshua C. Cohen


Title: Leverage
Author: Joshua C. Cohen 
Published: 1 February 2011 by Dutton Children's Books
Source: eBook Bought
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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 damaged fullback and a promising gymnast might hold the key to a school's salvation.

Told in alternating voices and with unapologetic truth, Leverage illuminates the fierce loyalty, flawed justice, and hard-won optimism of two young athletes.

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 bulking up in order to fit in with what they see as societal ideals.

An astounding 57% of teenagers admit that they felt compelled to take the drugs what with leading health” magazines constantly featuring ripped guys.

The percentage of teen athletes who do not receive any education about what the side effects of steroids: 85%

The percentage of high school boys who admit to having tried steroids at least once: 11%

Joshua C. Cohen's Leverage is a mature Young Adult novel that focuses on an issue that is often ignored - Steroid usage among adolescents. But Leverage goes above and beyond your average sports fiction novel.

Social hierarchies in school, dismissal of male victims of rape, bullying, substance abuse, abuse of the power and authority, speech disorder - No stone is left unturned. It's an incredibly hard book to read but also hopeful in its own way. Narrated in distinctive dual POVs of a gymnast and a football player, Leverage is a homage to beautiful friendships found in unlikely places.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Redefining Strong Women in YA Fiction

Last night I finished reading Kathy MacMillan's recent YA fantasy novel, Sword and Verse. While the novel itself was underwhelming, what's remarkable about the book is MacMillan's protagonist, Raisa. There's no denying that YA fantasy has now become synonymous with katana-wielding rebels and ass-kicking assassins. So of course, I assumed that Raisa would be another Celaena Sardothien or Kristin Cashore's Katsa. I couldn't have been more wrong. Raisa's weapon of choice is her ability to read, something that's forbidden to all except a chosen few in the kingdom of Qilara. And THAT I find is quite a refreshing change.

Katniss Everdeen revolutionized the way we viewed female heroines. Until 2012 mainstream pop culture saw very few heroines that could be defined as “strong”i.e., heroines who were more than just sidekicks, token love interests and sex symbols. Suzanne Collins hitting the bestseller lists brought on an onslaught of smart as well as tough as nails heroines. While previously female protagonists were seen as mere props to the plot or sex symbols, things now seem to be heading towards another extreme. There has been an influx of authors are building up on physical strength of a heroine while completely forgoing emotional strength. By trying to inject strong heroines into fiction, we seem to be forgetting that strength comes in many forms. We seem to be forgetting that strength comes from within and that a woman does not have to be like a man to be strong

Thursday, January 7, 2016

It's a wrap, 2015.

Well, hello 2016.

2015's been a pretty eventful year for me with it's fair share of ups and downs. And as sad as I'm to say goodbye (I AM GETTING OLD, YO), it feels great to start afresh. It's been only 7 days and my life seems to be getting a major overhaul! I hope to tick a LOT of things off my bucket list in the upcoming months (before my birthday-NO PRESSURE OR ANYTHIN') so fingers crossed. 

Speaking of 2015, I thought I'd share a few things that I particularly loved about the past year + what to expect on the blog this year!

Favorite Reads of 2015

All the Bright Places | Damsel Distressed | I Call Myself a FeministPantherSix of Crows

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Post Reading: Thicker Than Water - Kelly Fiore

Word Contessa Thicker Than Water Kelly Fiore


Title: Thicker Than Water
Author: Kelly Fiore
Published: 5 January 2016  by Harper Teen
Source: ARC from Publisher
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Cecelia Price killed her brother. At least, that’s what the police and the district attorney are saying. And although Cecelia is now locked up and forced into treatment, she knows the real story is much more complicated.

Cyrus wasn’t always the drug-addled monster he’d become. He was a successful athlete, but when an injury forced him off the soccer field and onto pain medication, his life became a blur of anger, addiction, and violence. All CeCe could do was stand by and watch, until one day she found a solution.


> 15 MILLION - The number of people in the US ALONE who abuse prescription drugs.
50% - The percentage of young adults who believe that prescription drugs are much safer than illegal street drugs.
54.2% - The percentage of prescription drug users who get them free from a friend/relative.


As appalling as these stats are, they are also very real.

There's no denying that drug abuse is a prevalent issue among young adults so it is downright shocking to find out that very few YA books address drug and substance abuse