The Player

From the Series Lorimer SideStreets

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

Set in the traditionally homophobic world of amateur hockey, this book follows gay goalie Cooper in his struggle with his feelings for a teammate and coming out to his team. Cooper has been hooking up with teammate Pesh in secret, and has to play along when Pesh dates a girl and even tolerate locker-room homophobic talk. When Pesh outs Cooper online, trying to better his own chances at playing pro, Cooper chooses self-esteem and honesty over sex. With a strong and relatable main character, this book is a realistic, positive look at teen relationships — gay or straight.

Distributed in the U.S by Lerner Publishing Group

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 8 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 2
Genre High/Low, Young Adult
Category Diverse Books: LGBTQIA+, Diverse Books: #OwnVoices, Diversity, SEL: A Self-Awareness, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: D Relationship Skills, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2021
Publisher James Lorimer and Company Ltd., Publishers
Imprint Lorimer Children & Teens
Language English
Number of Pages 160
Publication Date 2021-08-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS YAF031000, YAF058040, YAF059080
Dewey FIC
Dimensions 5.25 x 7.5
Lexile 370
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Reviewed, Teaching Guides, and eSource


School Library Journal

“Recommended for high school libraries.”—School Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews

“Coccia scores with this gay athlete’s journey . . . Sweet heat melts the ice, and relationship woes guide growth.”—Kirkus Reviews

Author: Paul Coccia

Paul Coccia has a specialist in English from the University of Toronto and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. He wrote the YA novel Cub. Paul lives in Toronto.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

Lorimer SideStreets

Edgy high/low fiction for teen reluctant readers. Each SideStreets novel deals with real-world issues and features contemporary teen characters, many from diverse backgrounds. Male and female characters face serious issues today’s teens can relate to, such as… View available downloads →