The Juvie Three

The Juvie Three

5.0 8
by Gordon Korman

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Gecko, Terence, and Ajay are serving time in juvenile detention centers until they get a second chance. Douglas Healy, a former juvenile delinquent himself, takes them into his halfway house, hoping to make a difference in their lives. One night there is a scuffle, and Healy is accidentally knocked unconscious. When he awakes in the hospital, he has no memory of

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Gecko, Terence, and Ajay are serving time in juvenile detention centers until they get a second chance. Douglas Healy, a former juvenile delinquent himself, takes them into his halfway house, hoping to make a difference in their lives. One night there is a scuffle, and Healy is accidentally knocked unconscious. When he awakes in the hospital, he has no memory of them or of 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.

But if the boys are found out, their second chance will be their last.

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
Gecko drove, and crashed, a getaway car for his thieving brother; Terence picked up his B & E skills running with a gang in Chicago; hulking Arjay killed a man with a single punch. All three teenagers are serving time in juvenile detention until they're selected by a man named Douglas Healy, a former juvie himself, to take part in an experimental halfway house in New York City. Terence chafes at the many rules and tries to sneak out one night, though the other boys try to stop him. When Healy comes out to the balcony to intervene, he falls to the pavement and wakes up in the hospital with amnesia. Desperate not to return to juvie, the boys conspire to pretend Healy is still overseeing them and strive mightily to follow all the rules, despite complications like Arjay's blossoming rock guitarist career and Terence's tendency to return to his criminal ways. Meanwhile, Gecko checks up on Healy in the hospital, posing as a volunteer, and falls hard for lovely Roxanne, a real hospital volunteer. When Healy's memory fails to return and he's transferred to Bronx County Psychiatric Hospital, the boys realize the jig is up, and they set out to break Healy out, with the help of Roxanne. It would make a good sitcom, wouldn't it? Korman, author of Born to Rock, Son of the Mob and other YA novels, has a sure hand with comedy, and he makes the most of his appealing if flawed characters and great setup. The danger of discovery, the tough-talking delinquents who aren't quite as hard as they first appear, the hateful authority figures who nevertheless come to their aid—there's lots to relish here. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick
VOYA - Marlah K.Unruh
As Gecko (real name Graham) receives his initiation at the juvenile detention center-a pillowcase over his head and a beating by the other inmates-rescue arrives in the form of a call to the office where Douglas Healy awaits him. Healy has a grant that allows him to take three juvenile offenders to live with him in an apartment where they will work out their sentences in a tightly controlled, real-world setting. He has chosen Gecko; Arjay, a young African American convicted of murder; and Terence, a hoodlum wannabe. It is their last chance. If they blow it, they will do hard time. When Healy is injured and taken to the hospital in a coma, the boys decide they will carry on at the apartment as though he is still with them, knowing it is the best way to avoid going to prison. But Gecko falls in love, Arjay joins a rock band, and Terence moves toward becoming a gang member. Korman's description of how the boys got into trouble rings true; however, the resolution of their problems is a stretch. Gecko and his girlfriend break up to please her wealthy father. Arjay turns down a chance to record with a band. And when some very menacing gang members threaten Terence's life if he does not kill an old woman, he tells them he does not "have time for this." Middle readers will enjoy this book, but older teens will see through its attempt at realism. Reviewer: Marlah K.Unruh
Children's Literature - Anita Barnes Lowen
Gecko, Arjay and Terence are three juvenile delinquents who are candidates for an experimental alternative living program in New York City. As their group leader, Mr. Healy, explains: "Here's how it works: you live with me and two other boys in an apartment. You go to school; you go into counseling; you do community service. To be blunt, you work your butt off and keep your nose clean." One of the boys was convicted of manslaughter, one was the driver of a get-away car, and one plans to see more of New York City than the inside of the grungy walk-up apartment that is now an installation of the United States Department of Juvenile Corrections. The night Terence makes his move and slips out of the apartment, things go terribly wrong. As a result, Mr. Healy is hospitalized. His memory is gone, and the boys don't dare let the authorities know that the man listed as John Doe is their mentor. Until Mr. Healy regains his memory and returns to the apartment, they are going to be obedient little robots and do everything they've been programmed to do. If they don't, they could receive a one-way ticket back to the juvenile justice system. This is a winning novel about three boys who just might make it. Reviewer: Anita Barnes Lowen
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9

Terence, Gecko, and Arjay made serious mistakes and wound up doing time in juvenile-detention facilities. Empathetic adult Douglas Healy, a former juvenile offender himself, has secured a grant to operate an experimental halfway house in New York City designed to provide second chances to boys deemed as deserving. The teens accept his offer to become his first reformees, willing to trade their bleak incarceration for a small taste of freedom, even though the bargain entails maintaining academic excellence, therapy, and community service. Though Gecko and Arjay enter into the deal in good faith, Terence seems bound for recidivism. Gecko and Arjay attempt to intercept him one night as he tries to use the fire escape as a means of reconnecting with his newfound, gang-related associates. A scuffle ensues and, when Healy intervenes, he falls to the ground, unconscious but still alive. The boys "borrow" a vehicle and drop him off at a local hospital where he awakens with retrograde amnesia. The teens then face the seemingly impossible task of keeping up appearances while also working behind the scenes at the hospital to ensure that Mr. Healy eventually regains his memory and returns to his post as their overseer. This novel is signature Korman; it is a celebration of good, youthful intentions and a wholesome and fun treatment of what might otherwise be prohibitively gritty issues. As such, it's a great choice as a middle school read-aloud.-Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI

Kirkus Reviews
Three young miscreants are offered a shot at redemption in this unlikely but likable comedy of errors. Gecko, Arjay and Terence are all in stir until the compassionate Douglas Healy selects them to live with him in a New York group home. Gecko, jailed for helping his brother steal a car, and gifted musician Arjay are incredibly grateful for the opportunity and vow to make it work. Terence, however, is arrogant, hotheaded and careless; in an attempt to sneak out one night, he causes an accident that knocks Healy unconscious and results in his amnesia. Desperate to avoid being returned to juvie, the three hatch a scheme to cover for Healy, hoping that he will regain his memory in time to save them. The well-developed and distinct personalities of the three boys provide ample ground for Korman to build their frustrations with one another as the fantastical plot moves forward. While perhaps a bit predictable, the emotional growth of each boy is nicely constructed and believable, and the dialogue is spot-on. (Fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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