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review: The Juvie Three (Gordon Korman)

The Deets:
Reading level: MG/YA
pages: 256
publisher: September 2nd 2008 by Hyperion
ISBN: 9781423101581
Source: my own copy


The Juvie ThreeGecko Fosse drove the getaway car.
Terence Florian ran with the worst gang in Chicago.
Arjay Moran killed someone.
All three boys are serving time in juvenile detention centers until they get a second chance at life in the form of Douglas Healy. A former juvenile delinquent himself, Healy is running an experimental halfway house in New York City where he wants to make a difference in the lives of kids like Gecko, Terence, and Arjay.
Things are going well, until one night Healy is accidentally knocked unconscious while trying to break up a scuffle among the boys. Terrified of the consequences, they drop him off at a hospital and run away. But when Healy awakes, he has no memory of them or the halfway house. Afraid of being sent back to Juvie, the guys hatch a crazy scheme to continue on as if the group leader never left. They will go to school, do their community service, attend therapy, and act like model citizens until Healy's memory returns and he can resume his place with them.
But life keeps getting in the way...like when Gecko finds romance. Or Arjay gets famous. Or Terence starts reverting to his old ways. If the boys are discovered, their second chance will be their last.


Another book club hit!

I was really worried when I started this one that it was going to be like a Walter Dean Meyers book. (Not that I don't love those; I do. I've just read a lot of them already.) You know the scenario. Troubled teens get a second chance, but someone blows it. Will they do the right thing or not? Very plaid out cliche in literature, I think. Well, thankfully Gordon Korman came along and gave it fresh insight.

Yes, the cliche remains, but he doesn't beat the dead horse. There are no neat little bows wrapping up the plot at the end. No rainbows and unicorns-- at least not completely. Yes, there is that obvious "happy ending" that you knew was coming (so don't whine about a spoiler). BUT somethings were not solved in the way you might think. That made it believable, and I am thankful that not everything ended up sugary sweet.

The characters are a nice compliment to one another as well. Gecko is shy but funny. Arjay is misunderstood and layered. And Terrance is your basic pain in the arse thug wannabe. They interact nicely with one another, giving the perfect combination of conflict throughout the book. There were minor characters that make appearances too, but they aren't all that memorable. Ms. Vaughn makes me laugh with her obvious stereotypes, but beyond that... bleh.

It's a quick read. I flew threw it in two sittings. Great descriptions and some seriously funny LOL moments. I think MG readers would enjoy this one if they like stories about troubled youth getting second chances.

 

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