________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 4 . . . . October 10, 2008


The Juvie Three.

Gordon Korman.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2008.
249 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-0-545-99628-0.

Subject Headings:
Problem youth - Juvenile fiction.
Halfway houses - Juvenile fiction.

Grades 7-12 / Ages 12-17.

Review by Betsy Fraser.

***½ /4


“I spoke to your mother,” Healy says quietly. “She understands that you’re being given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You won’t be seeing her anytime soon. No contact at all for the first six month. That’s a condition of the grant. No phone calls, no e-mails, no letters.”

“And if I say no?”

“You won’t,” Healy replies confidently. “Living in jail or living free. It’s not much of a decision.”

Gecko nods. He made the decision back at right now – today. To avoid a return visit to that laundry room, he’ll happily follow this unperson to the end of the earth.

Three boys are hand-picked by a counsellor named Douglas Healy to join him in a halfway house in New York City because he thinks they deserve a second chance. They are told that they must not screw up or break any rules or they will be placed back inside the facilities from which they have been taken. The boys react to this in varying ways: Gecko, tried for driving the getaway vehicle for his older brother’s robbery, wouldn’t think about breaking the rules; Arjay, tried in adult court for an accidental death, is determined not to go back to jail; Terence seeks out criminal opportunities. When an accident leaves Healy with retrograde amnesia, the boys are set on the adventure of a lifetime. The “juvie three” begin an elaborate deception to maintain their new lives. They decide that their only hope in fooling everyone around them into assuming that Healy is still around and monitoring them will be if they manage to follow all of their rules exactly. This becomes increasingly difficult when Arjay becomes involved with a local band, Gecko forms an attachment to a local girl who happens to be related to a high-ranking police official, and Terence becomes involved with a local gang.

     Gordon Korman’s latest will appeal to his fans and both genders, sharing elements as it does with some of his previous novels: readers will emphasize not only with the impossible and improbable romantic elements but also the humour from Son of the Mob  and No More Dead Dogs. The characters are well-developed and engaging. The adventure that the boys undertake builds to a satisfying climax that will attract reluctant readers. This is a book that will be at home in both school and public libraries.

Highly Recommended.

Betsy Fraser is the Community Outreach Librarian at Calgary Public Library’s Crowfoot Library.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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