3 NBs of Julian Drew

3 NBs of Julian Drew

5.0 3
by James M. Deem

View All Available Formats & Editions

Julian Drew “lives” with his father, his abusive stepmother and her children, but it’s not a life anyone would want. He buys his first NB on October 25 at Osco Drug in Tucson. Green spiral. 80 pages. 34 lines per page. He tries to write but his pen won’t cooperate. Then he develops a secret code. Mysterious notebooks record his fight for


Julian Drew “lives” with his father, his abusive stepmother and her children, but it’s not a life anyone would want. He buys his first NB on October 25 at Osco Drug in Tucson. Green spiral. 80 pages. 34 lines per page. He tries to write but his pen won’t cooperate. Then he develops a secret code. Mysterious notebooks record his fight for survival and recovery. Gripping and poignant, this story will hook readers from the first page.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A challenging and oddly compelling story of an abused teenager who fights a heroic battle to deal with his mother's death and to survive the mistreatment of one of the most vicious stepmothers in all of literature. . . . All of the characters, even the most minor, are surprisingly vivid and real." --School Library Journal, starred School Library Journal, Starred

"With an inventive vision, Deem present a hard-edged tale of abuse and recovery." -- Kirkus Reviews Kirkus Reviews

"A powerful and gripping survival story." --Horn Book Horn Book

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Presented as a series of notebook entries by the mentally and physically abused Julian Drew, much of Deem's (How to Read Your Mother's Mind) erratic first YA novel is written in a simple but irritating code. Numbers replace letters in particularly loaded words or phrases: ``1M155U'' is the equivalent of ``I miss you'' and 543 is ``she'' (meaning the woman Julian's father has married following Julian's mother's death). Gradually the reader comes to understand that Julian's father and stepmother starve him for days, make him sleep in an unheated garage and otherwise mistreat him. As Julian confronts his vast grief about his mother, he uses less and less of his code, finally dropping it altogether-but not before the reader's patience has been taxed. Julian's voice is disturbing yet brilliant-however, aside from its almost surrealistic climax and improbably promising ending, this dark book rarely rises above the level of a moody character study. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-A challenging and oddly compelling story of an abused teenager who fights a heroic battle to deal with his mother's death and to survive the mistreatment of one of the most vicious stepmothers in all of literature. NB, in Julian's shorthand, means notebook-the only means out of his profound loneliness and pain. His mother died when he was in the fifth grade, leaving him almost instantly in the hands of ``stepnother.'' She locks him in his garage room, virtually starves him, and inflicts an endless string of verbal and physical abuses that drive him nearly to madness. NB1 expresses his complete isolation. In NB2, he begins to make contact with a girl in his Spanish class, his English teacher encourages his writing, and he gets a job. In NB3, it all falls apart and he runs away to Wheeling, WV, where his mother died. Here, his prophetic dreams of a letter from his mother, the book Portrait of Jennie, and his obsessive desire to go back in time to rejoin his mother converge. Instead, he nearly dies and is joined by Susan from Spanish class who has run away, pregnant, from her own destructive home to be with the "`weirdest, nicest person I've ever met and the biggest puzzle I've ever tried to solve.'" All of the characters, even the most minor, are surprisingly vivid and real. The plot structure and the parallels to Portrait of Jennie are consistent and logical, and they add an intriguing twist to Julian's search for his mother and his past. But best of all, Deem leaves enough literary space between dialogue and action for readers to infer character and emotion, which is a blessed relief from the heavy-handedness of so many YA novels. Overall, a well-written book about a character well worth knowing.-Kathy Fritts, Jesuit High School, Portland, OR

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.62(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

3 Nbs of Julian Drew

By James M. Deem

Avon Books

Copyright © 1996 James M. Deem
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0380725878

NB #1:

have 2
my eyes saw
Ur letter
in my dream
in MY dream
my MM bought
The lock is on
my hand is trying 2 write
TRYING 2 write
my brain dreamed about Ur letter
until last night
now no dream
no dream now
the lock
Deer who?
Why won"t my pen do this?
know why?
no why?
Everything is like watching myself in a mirror
My eyes are tired of mirror-watching me
My eyes are tired
but my hand is trying.
My brain is thinking of some 1.
It is thinking of U.
Me + U
My brain can"t stand it
4 yr is a long time. 4 yr is 4ever.
All it thinks about is U.
Don"t think about THEM, brain.
Just think about U.
My hand is going 2 WRITE.
My hand IS going 2 write.
My hand is going 2 write U if it K1775 me.
No 1 can stop me.
43 can"t stop me.
543 can"t stop me.
There are 2 many things 2 write.
2 many.
My hand will write 1 THING.
Some THING my brain thinks about.
My brain had a nowhere dream 4 20 nights. My body was nowhere.
It was dusty, smelly, old.
My eyes saw a book on a shelf. It was Ur book.
My fingers found a letter inside.
The letter was from U.
It was so real my ears heard the envelope crackle.
My nose could smell Ur perfume.
But the dream stopped be4 my eyes could read the letter + now my brain
doesn"t dream this anymore.
What was inside the letter? What did U want 2 tell me?
My hand wrote
2 many
(maybe it"s the pen"s fault).

This NB is green
80-page spiral w/34 lines on a page
5440 lines total 2 write on.
This NB says Econo-line on the cover.
This NB was purchased 335WP TO25 in Osco Drug at Mercado
Plaza on University Dr.
My brain wants 2 remember everything about it.
The cashier w/the Janice nametag waited on me. She was
wearing a T-shirt that said (2 me) 170V3 Rick. My brain was wondering what
it would be like 2 be Rick. My brain was playing crazy thoughts.
Only Janice 7OV35 Rick, not me.
A me w/o U.

My hand wrote Ur name (even if the pen crossed it out). Then the
pen drew a box around each letter + wrote every letter of the alphabet on top
of each letter in Ur name just 2 make sure no 1 can tell what was there.
Just in case.
Writing Ur name was like seeing Ur face + holding Ur hand. Like
talking 2 U again, breathing Ur air. It makes me feel scared. My hand was
shaking. My brain was thinking about doing this 4 a long time. My hand
decided 2 be a little braver + try this. My hand is going 2 TRY.
2 be braver.
My brain thought about starting (really starting) this NB every day.
Could U tell? Writing this is like trying 2 walk after being in a coma since
birth. Maybe not birth. Maybe just 4 4 yr. Writing this is like trying 2 talk after
having my mouth taped shut 4 4 yr. My hand can"t write things that easy. It
feels funny. My hand doesn"t know what won"t let it.
Do U understand?
Do U?
What my hand wants 2 write
is hard 2 write
What the pen won"t write U is
Maybe my brain could think thoughts 2 U w/o talking + U would
know them. But it doesn"t know how. All it knows how 2 do is think in secret
code. My hand writes secret code 4 some words. Maybe the pen will let me
write a secret code just 4 U.
What could my code be?
OK what about this?
The code is: 1M155U.
1 M155 U. Do U understand it?
Here"s another: 170V3U.
Now my brain says 2 hide this from THEM.
Maybe there will be more 2 morrow if my hand has something 2
Dear U,
This is 4 U, even if the pen won"t let me write Ur name. Do U
understand? My brain has been thinking about things 2 write U all day. It has
23 things 2 tell U. It remembers them all.
Thing 1: We left WV on A14: 3 yr 6 mo + 25 d ago (do U want 2 know the
min + sec?)
Thing 2: 43 drove the car away at 202WA. 543 was right beside 43.
Thing 3: My eyes saw (but no 1s eyes saw me) as we passed under the
streetlight at the corner.
Thing 4: My brain could never 4get that time. My brain could never 4get that
time was 4bidden.
Thing 5: 43 didn"t want the neighbors" eyes 2 see. But U can"t ignore the
Thing 6: Emma (the only impt person) was sitting in her car seat next 2 me.
Thing 7: Her eyes were C.
Thing 8: We moved 2 Tucson AZ.
Thing 9: It took 17 1⁄2 d 2 get there.
Thing 10: We had 1 blowout going 70 across MO.
Thing 11: The car broke down near Santa dinner there in a real restaurant called the Club
Thing 13: We stopped at places 2 sightsee. Indian mounds, petrified forests,
meteor craters. All kinds of natural + unnatural disasters.
Thing 14: We have lived in 5 houses in 3 yr + 6 mo + 25 d. Pink, yellow,
blue, gray w/red rock in the front yard, + gray w/blue rock.
Thing 15: My body went 2 4 different jr hi schools be4 hi school + now 2
different hi schools. Only they weren"t hi schools, they were bye schools. My
brain stayed home. As soon as my feet knew the way 2 school, it was time 2
move. 1 day we were there + next we were somewhere else. It was like
leaving WV only now we don"t leave in the middle of the night.
Thing 16: There are no such things as friends. Just watching + thinking about
being friends w/them. Some people seem like they would be nice friends, but
their eyes don"t see me.
Sometimes it bothers me.
Sometimes it doesn"t.
Thing 17: Now we are in Tempe which is next 2 PHX.
Thing 18: We moved here 08.
Thing 19: That means we have been here 26 d + 3 hr + 4? min. That means
nothing has changed.
Thing 20: 43 is trying to get lucky in PHX. 43 thinks it will be better here. 43
said no 1 can make a living in Tucson. 43 says the territory is better here. 43
has a new job + only has 2 travel every other wk.
Thing 21: The house we"re in now is small, 2 BR + a garage.
Thing 22: Besides Emma + 43 + me, there are 4 people living here now:
Roger Rebecca Roxie + 543.
That"s all the pen will let me write 4 now.
Except Thing 23: 1M155U.
We are poor. Not like WV where w OWNED a nice house. We"re
not on food stamps, but there"s not much money
4 SOME of US
THEY sold the house + got rid of everything when we moved 2 AZ.
We rented a house w/furniture (the pink 1) in Tucson 4 a while but it cost 2
much. So we moved 2 an empty house but there wasn"t enough money 4
furniture. Except the couch + coffee table (BUT DONT PUT YOUR FEET ON
THEM), the kitchen table + chairs.
Except 1 KINGSIZE BED (+ dresser + chest of drawers).
43 made Emma + the 3Rs (that"s Roger Rebecca + Roxie) + me
beds out of 2 X 4s + a sheet of plywood using a plan from some doityourself
magazine. Only 43s not very handy + they sagged in the middle. So 43
stacked 4 cinder blocks 2 make a tower under the middle of the plywood 2
hold it up. We didn"t even have mattresses 4 them, so we slept in sleeping
bags on top of the plywood. A few months ago THEY got Emma Rebecca +
Roxie real beds. That"s because they"re girls. The BOYS still have plywood
beds. At night, my ears hear the plywood scraping against the cinder blocks
when 1 of us turns over.
My clothes are Kmart shirts (lucky) or outlet shirts (unlucky).
They are covered w/sticky XXXs 2 mark the bad spots (but ALL SALES ARE
FINAL). My pants are always jeans that are 2 short or 2 loose. My shoes are
always 75%-off sneakers.
We keep our clothes in cardboard boxes. Mine are a Lemon Brillo
box + a Lemon Joy box. All my clothes smell like lemon soap.
14AT3 lemons but 170V3U
It"s hard 4 my hand 2 wr What if SOMEBODY sees this? What if SOMEBODY finds out?
So this NB goes in my DD on the B in the B under everything.
There are things my mouth doesn"t talk about w/any 1. There are
things my brain doesn"t think. There are things, so many THINGS.
Some days it makes me crazy. How can these THINGS stay in
my brain? It"s like an atomic bomb waiting 2 explode. It is like waiting 2 D.
My hand wants 2 write more 4 U. But it is scared. It told U so
much the other day.
Maybe it can write 1 more THING.
1 small thing.
My GB is my garage bedroom (SHARED w/Roger). It"s not really
a GB, just an old carport that some 1 bricked up (front + back). But it
reminds me of our garage in WV.
It has a concrete floor w/oil stains + cinder block walls. The
ceiling is 24 cinder blocks high. There are 816 cinder blocks in the whole
There are 4 wooden beams holding up the ceiling.
The ceiling is plywood, painted white.
There are 5 small brown spiders living in the 2 front corners. 3 on
the R, 2 on the L.
Sometimes baby lizards crawl through a crack between the cinder
blocks in the R rear corner.
The door out of the GB 2 the house has 3 glass window panes.
The windows have a curtain inside the house, not on the side of the garage. It
used 2 be an outside door.
No. It is still an outside door.
Against the back wall is the old carport storage room. My brain
calls it SR, but it"s really my (SHARED) closet. SR has a window. If the door
2 SR is open just right, my eyes can look at the back of the house across
the alley. Some 1 from my new school S.
170V3GB + SR
But sometimes my brain thinks about UFOs. It tells my eyes 2
look 4 stars 2 find 1 that moves. Sometimes my brain wants a UFO 2 land in
the back yard + take me away.
A big glowing ball would land softly + a door would open. A silver
alien would wave 2 me + say: COME HERE, LEAVE THIS PLACE BEHIND.
My brain wouldn"t think twice about packing. Lemon Brillo boxes are easy 2
carry on2 a spaceship. My brain wouldn"t even think once about getting hurt.
My ears would hear whatever the alien said. My body would go 2 another
planet. My mouth would learn A-talk + eat A-food. My body would sleep in an
A-garage + wear cheap A-clothes bought from cheap A-stores 4 the rest of
my life. As long as there were new As 2 take care of me.
Sometimes another planet could only be a better place.
My GB doesn"t have much furniture. 2 plywood beds + 2 cinder
block towers, 2 sleeping bags + pillows, 4 cardboard boxes, + my new desk
+ chair. Not new really, but new 2 me. Every time we move 2 a house they
throw my desk + chair out. This is D4 + C5. It"s easier to find Cs than Ds.
But it"s easier 2 make a D out of crates, like the 1 in the pink house.
This time they were sitting in front of a house down the street 1
morning. They were waiting 4 the garbage man. That means me.
170V3 D4 + C5
14AT3 543
The wood on top of my D is chipped on the edges + some 1
scribbled on the top w/crayons. The drawers are warped + the knobs are
loose. The C is made out of mold seat is cracked. It has 1
short leg + it wobbles. It doesn"t matter what they look like, because they are
The worst part about my GB is it doesn"t have any heat; it was in
the 40s last night. The other worst part is Roger.
The best part is when no 1 bothers me (which is now when my
hand is writing).
My hand has told U a lot (the pen helped).
Do U understand what it means?
My hand couldn"t write 4 a few days, because it didn"t know what
2 write.
So now it will tell U about school.
14AT3 5C4007
University Hi School
5th wk
bad grades
14AT3 MAT4. My teacher wears old clothes that smell like bad
BO. 2day he gave me an F on my homework.
14AT3 59AN154. My teacher gave me an F on my test. Que tal?
My body sat there in back of some 1 w/long red hair feeling like my eyes
were going 2 C. Instead my brain thought about U.
1M155U. 170V3U.
My brain thinks about U a lot, it thinks about U whenever it feels
bad. Which is most of the time now. Sometimes at school (sitting in class)
my brain says 2 itself:
My brain says it: One-M-one-five-five-U. It says it over + over like it
has magic power. Just like Franny does it in Franny + Zooey, my 2nd favorite
book after Catcher in the Rye. She keeps reciting this prayer. My brain
doesn"t believe in God most of the time, but my prayer is 1M155U + my brain
can say it 4ever.
That is school. There is nothing more 2 say about it. My hand is but there is nothing 2 say. School is a D
place + so is home.
Maybe there will be more 2 write later.
After school 543 swamped me w/jobs, even though every 1 else
was watching TV. Somehow Roger + Rebecca always get their work done
without my eyes seeing them. My brain thinks 543 does it 4 them. They also
had a snack 2day. After school my eyes saw 4 glasses (1 4 Emma + 1 4
Roxie) sitting in the kitchen sink. Each 1 had juice rings on the bottom.
ME: Is there any juice?
SOME OF US are not allowed 2 have anything after
school except water, unless 543 feels like it.
Then my mouth said: But everybody else had some.
Sometimes my mouth interrupts.
My mouth said: Whose glasses are those?
My eyes were looking at the 1s in the sink + 543 knew it. 543
was lying 2 me.
It was time 2 clean the kids" bathroom. This is always my job
everyday, 543 hasn"t cleaned 1 bathroom since THEY got married. The sink,
the toilet, the tub, the floor. Sponge, scrubber, vacuum, mop. 543 checks, so
IT IS DONE RIGHT. It reminds me of Cinderella, only no mice are helping me.
No GD mice.
(Does it bother U if my hand writes a word like that? Don"t be
upset, but my hand can"t stop itself. If it bothers U, U would never want 2
know what my brain is thinking on the inside, the inside that can never come
ME: Finished.
My brain was hoping 543 would let me watch cartoons w/Emma +
the 3Rs.
Then my mouth said: Why doesn"t everybody else have 2 do their
My mouth: But why?
543 thinks that my brain is stupid.
Back in my GB, my hand locked the door + shut it. Could U tell
how easy my hand wrote that? The words streamed out of my pen (it didn"t
mind). My hand has never written this be4. Now it is telling U.
Do U remember about my GB? Do U remember where the lock
is? It"s an outside door. My hand locked my body out of the house. From
400WP 2 dinner time every day M-F (after bathroom cleaning), the door is
supposed 2 be locked w/me in my GB. It was the same in every other house.
They would put an outside lock on my room.
4 a long time my brain stopped thinking about it. My hand just
turned the lock + did it. Being alone was OK. But my cheeks + my throat
don"t like it anymore + my hand doesn"t want 2 lock the door.
It started w/the nowhere dream. My brain got the idea that there is
a letter from U waiting 4 me but it"ll never be delivered 2 my GB.
So it tries 2 ignore the rule some days. Last wk, my hand just
closed the door, didn"t lock it. When 543 walked by + saw it unlocked, 543
locked it. That"s why 2day my hand locked the door again.
My ears don"t want 2 hear HER picky sticky little fingers clicking
that lock.
Now Roxie just unlocked the door + opened it.
Dinner, she said.
Time 2 hide my N


Excerpted from 3 Nbs of Julian Drew by James M. Deem Copyright © 1996 by James M. Deem. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

James M. Deem is the author of numerous books for young readers, including 3 NB of Julian Drew, Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Rediscovery of the Past, and Faces From the Past. Mr. Deem lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

3 NB's of Julian Drew 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story is about a boy who wrote 3 notebooks and he had all his secrets on his notebooks. julian's father got married and whenever he did something the father gets mean and abuses julian.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story is about a boy whose mom died when he was young. Now his father is married to another woman and she abuses him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
3 NBS of Julian Drew is a wonderful novel that makes your eyes water. Julian is an abused child who writes in code so that his evil stepnother (stepmother) who he refers as 543 won't read his notebooks. He writes down everything in his notebook. He is poor and his parents treat him very badly. This book takes the reader with Julain in his wonderful life story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is okay..it is a little sad..it is about a child who uses secret codes to write in his journal..he is getting abused from his stepmom..
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book remains one of my favorites after reading it for the first time two years ago. This book tells the (beautiful and painful) story of fifteen-year-old Julian Drew, a mildly abused and neglected kid who discovers writing a journal as a method to escape reality. If you like adolescent tales of self-discovery and acceptance, then you'll absolutely love this book, although it's suitable for all ages given its emotional timelessness. Despite its serious subject matter, there is humor sprinkled around the pages, especially in Julian's wistful descriptions of how he'd get back at his dad and 'stepnother'. I wish this guy had written more books, but maybe it's just as well that there is only this one so that it may stand out better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book while I was in the 11th grade, I am now out of highschool and I still love this book! I could relate in some ways. This book had so many emotions in it, some made me cry a little, but I do recommend reading this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved this book, excellent read. its a little confusing though so pay attention throughout it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The 3 NBS of Jullian Drew' is a compeling story of a young abused teenager. One of the most intresting books I have ever read. 5 stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good book becauze this happens to a lot of children. People need to know that.