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The Juvie Three Paperback – Jan 5 2010
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Quill & Quire
Gordon Korman’s latest finds a trio of 15-year-old boys plucked from the American penal system and planted in an experimental halfway house in Manhattan. Gecko Fosse, a smart kid whose self-proclaimed hobby is not thinking, is serving time for driving his burglar brother’s getaway car. Arjay Moran is a gentle giant with a talent for music, who accidentally killed a boy in a schoolyard tussle. Terence Florian is a fast-talking petty thief and would-be gang member. The halfway house affords the boys limited liberty, but if any of them messes up, they all go back to jail. When Terence tries to escape, their minder, the big-hearted Mr. Healy, falls from a fire escape. Healy is hospitalized as a comatose John Doe, and the boys realize they must work together to maintain the appearance that Healy is still at the helm, lest they be sent back to prison. This is a story about boys learning how to use their innate character traits for positive, rather than criminal, ends. The big, fun irony is that to maintain the façade of the halfway house, they must keep their noses extra clean – an often difficult task when faced with the temptations and opportunities of Manhattan. There is enough action and suspense in this novel to hold just about any reader. On occasion the story adopts a comic-book feel, but those scenes – mostly car chases – are justified, and Korman always guides the narrative back to character. The Juvie Three does a great job bundling into one package the sort of challenges teens face – especially inner-city boys. Gangs, peer pressure, judgmental or indifferent adults, crushes, school troubles, money woes – they’re all here, and more. Despite occasional plot gaps and some corny Degrassi-esque dialogue, Korman provides an entertaining lesson in making the leap from rebellion to responsibility. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Praise for The Juvie Three:
"Korman provides an entertaining lesson in making the leap from rebellion to responsibility" —Quill & Quire
"The characters are well-developed and engaging. The adventure... builds to a satisfying climax that will attract reluctant readers." —CM Reviews --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Douglas Healy lived through his own hard times, and now he is determined to give some hope to a new crop of troubled teens. He has worked hard to cut through the red tape and bureaucratic nonsense to open a small halfway house (apartment) for three lost boys. Gecko, Terence, and Arjay have committed a variety of crimes, from driving a stolen getaway car to murder, and society seems to say their are beyond hope. The efforts of Douglas Healy have given the three a last chance.
Gecko seems grateful and determined to do the right thing. Arjay is confused and suspicious, yet strangely appreciative, that a stranger would take the time to reach out a helping hand. Terence looks at the situation as an opportunity to make a quick buck and escape ASAP.
When Terence breaks the rules one night and attempts to sneak out by way of the fire-escape, the other two boys step in to protect what they view as their last chance at a real life. The scuffle between the boys is interrupted by a sleepy and angry Douglas Healy, who has the unfortunate luck to plummet head-first from the fire-escape to the pavement below.
Fearful of the outcome if they are caught, the three boys load an unconscious, bleeding Healy in the back of a stolen car and rush him to the nearest emergency room, where they dump him and then hightail it back to the apartment. Until they can decide what to do next, they agree to keep up appearances and stick to their usual daily routine.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Douglas Healy designed a pilot program for juvenile offenders. These three are chosen to live with him in an apartment, go to school, attend therapy sessions and be involved in community service. One slip-up and the boys will go back to prison.
Terence has no intention of toeing the line; he aims to run away as soon as possible. Gecko and Arjay know that if he disappears, they will be sent back. One night, while the three are arguing, Healy tries to intervene and is accidentally knocked unconscious. The boys drop him off at a hospital and live in fear of the consequences.
Nothing happens the next day, and they all go to school and work as if nothing happened. Gecko sneaks into the hospital to learn that Healy has no memory of who he is or what had occurred. In order to keep an eye on him, Gecko pretends to be a volunteer there. Then he meets Roxanne, another volunteer, and falls in love. Roxanne's wealthy, well-connected family threatens him, and he does not want to return to prison.
Arjay makes Gecko and Terence do their homework and keep all appointments so no one will suspect Healy is gone. But he also sneaks in some guitar practice at school and with a band at a nightclub. He finds success beyond his dreams, but knows he is now jeopardizing his freedom and those of his two friends as he becomes more known.
Meanwhile, Terence tries to get in with a gang again, finding a way to set up another robbery to court favor. When that doesn't make them accept him, and when they ask him to do something truly harmful to another person, he realizes that this is not who he wants to be. But now he has made some bad guys quite angry.
Healy is transferred to a mental institution because he still doesn't know who he is. Gecko, Arjay and Terence know they can't let him stay in that awful place; they need to band together and find some allies to help them out. Very few trust them with their criminal past, and many would just as soon see them all get sent back to prison.
The clock is ticking for all of them. The dialogue and brotherhood developing among the three boys speak true amidst a crazy situation. Would you do the right thing if no one was watching you? From thinking about surviving the next prison beating to finding out what they want for their future, they grow through every exciting page.
Prolific author Gordon Korman uses his usual humor in THE JUVIE THREE, but adds a suspenseful edge that will keep readers rooting for the boys and their overwhelming odds right through to the end.
--- Reviewed by Amy Alessio
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.