Lockdown

Lockdown

4.0 27
by Walter Dean Myers
     
 

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Walter Dean Myers enjoys speaking with kids in schools and juvenile detention facilities about writing and making positive decisions. He says, "I have enormous faith in young people."

What's it like in juvie jail? Enter the world of fourteen-year-old Reese, who's locked up at Progress juvenile detention facility. Can he get a second chance?

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Overview

Walter Dean Myers enjoys speaking with kids in schools and juvenile detention facilities about writing and making positive decisions. He says, "I have enormous faith in young people."

What's it like in juvie jail? Enter the world of fourteen-year-old Reese, who's locked up at Progress juvenile detention facility. Can he get a second chance?

Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“A moving tale of a kid who may have made a mistake but who still deserves the modest future he seeks. Refreshingly avoids cliché.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

“A moving tale of a kid who may have made a mistake but who still deserves the modest future he seeks. Refreshingly avoids cliché.”

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“A moving tale of a kid who may have made a mistake but who still deserves the modest future he seeks. Refreshingly avoids cliché.”
Jessica Bruder
Lockdown isn't a straightforward morality tale. It's a keenly observed portrait of what it means to serve time, full of hard choices and shaky shots at redemption. Myers is a master of observing kids in tough places, from the 16-year-old charged with felony murder in Monster,…to the young soldier in his recent Sunrise Over Fallujah. What makes this new novel stand out is its vivid depiction of the jail ecosystem and the compromises it demands of those who are able to survive it.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Maurice “Reese” Anderson is sentenced to 38 months in Progress, a juvenile detention center in New York, for stealing prescription forms for use in a drug-dealing operation. After 22 months, Reese, now age 14, is assigned to a work-release program at Evergreen, an assisted-living center for seniors. There he meets racist Mr. Hooft, who lectures him on life’s hardships (having barely survived a Japanese war camp in Java), which causes Reese to reflect on his own choices. More than anything, he wants to be able to protect his siblings, who live with his drug-addicted mother, before they repeat his mistakes (“The thing was that I didn’t know if I was going to mess up again or not. I just didn’t know. I didn’t want to, but it looked like that’s all I did”). Reese faces impossible choices and pressures—should he cop to a crime he didn’t commit? stick out his neck for a fellow inmate and risk his own future? It’s a harrowing, believable portrait of how circumstances and bad decisions can grow to become nearly insurmountable obstacles with very high stakes. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
VOYA - Amy Fiske
Fourteen-year-old Reese struggles to stay out of trouble while serving a sentence for theft in a juvenile detention facility. With only a few months remaining, he begins to think more seriously about what comes next. Participating in a work-release program in a nursing home, Reese experiences honest work and meets people from varied backgrounds. In particular is Mr. Hooft, a cranky old Dutchman who survived a Japanese POW camp as a child yet is withering away in the nursing home. Initially he has nothing but contempt for Reese, but a grudging respect grows over time. Reese begins to do the right thing. He protects a weaker inmate from a bully and promises to help his little sister get to college. Little by little, one positive leads to another. What makes Reese interesting is his balancing act between the positives and negatives in his life. Skilled at fighting and surviving amid violence, Reese recognizes that it is not the path to success. Can he leave the fighting and aggression behind? Myers crates a nuanced, realistic portrait of a teen dealing with incarceration and violence. He is a real teen trying to repair a complicated situation, and Myers gets his voice just right. Most teens do not have to deal with incarceration, yet they do face dilemmas, wrestle with behavior, and struggle to make wise and ethical choices. Many will recognize themselves in Reese and cheer him on as he struggles to create change in his life. Reviewer: Amy Fiske
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Maurice (Reese) Anderson, 14, stole prescription pads to make easy money for his family. Now he's serving time in a detention center. Working at a nursing home, he meets Mr. Hooft, who tells him that he doesn't like colored people or criminals. An antagonistic relationship quickly develops between them as Mr. Hooft verbally attacks the teen each time he attempts to carry out his duties. But there is greater trouble for Reese back at Progress; his impulsive behavior has left him at odds with the lead guard and the newly arrived gang leader. Now he must control his volatile and sometimes violent behavior when he is provoked as he awaits his appearance before the parole board. His fellow detainees have a wide variety of backgrounds, each offering a thread of connection to readers. Returning to common themes of justice, free will, and consequence, Myers again explores the mind of a young man struggling to survive the streets of Harlem. This latest work, while well written, doesn't achieve the emotional resonance of Paul Volponi's similar Rikers High (Viking, 2010). The characters feel static, and the depictions of the justice system and racial tensions will be familiar to many of Myers's readers. Hooft's incarceration in the Japanese camps during World War II is a somewhat unexpected revelation, but needs more historical background. Though not the author's most powerful work, this book has an audience waiting for it and should be purchased for most collections.—Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Fourteen-year-old Reese Anderson has already spent 22 months at the oxymoronically named Progress Center, and his prison world is delineated in painstaking detail-eternal stasis, a non-life, ever vulnerable to random violence and the threat of detention, added time and being sent upstate. The claustrophobia felt by this likable kid trapped in a cruel environment is masterfully evoked-a cell measuring 93 inches by 93 inches, the outside world observed from one closed-tight window overlooking a fence with barbed wire and relationships based on mistrust and a hierarchy of fear. As in Monster (1999), Myers is interested in first steps-how a person goes from innocence to incarceration and the difficulty, once in the prison system, of getting out and staying out. He offers no easy answers, but roots salvation in a few helping hands along the way and in personal moral decisions; Reese comes to realize that home and the streets are not where it's at: "I know I got to start with me." (Fiction. 12 & up)
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“A moving tale of a kid who may have made a mistake but who still deserves the modest future he seeks. Refreshingly avoids cliché.”
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“Myers creates a nuanced, realistic portrait of a teen dealing with incarceration and violence. Myers gets his voice just right.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
“A moving tale of a kid who may have made a mistake but who still deserves the modest future he seeks. Refreshingly avoids cliché.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A moving tale of a kid who may have made a mistake but who still deserves the modest future he seeks. Refreshingly avoids cliché."
Elizabeth Self
Maurice Anderson, or Reese, is 14 years old and serving time at Progress Center, a juvenile detention facility. He tries to keep himself out of trouble there, but the antics of several other inmates, who prey on a younger, weaker boy, cause him to lash out at them. As part of a work-release program, Reese begins visiting curmudgeonly Mr. Hooft at Evergreen, a facility for senior citizens. There, Reese learns both how to control his reactions to those who would provoke him and a strategy for life, one that will help him find his place outside Progress and the dangers of his own neighborhood and old life. Lockdown is the story of one boy's efforts to reconcile his fight for life with his need to stay out of the system. Reviewer: Elizabeth Self
Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Reese Anderson is serving time in a juvenile detention center for something he most definitely did. He is serving his time with appropriate behavior and is now doing a work release program in preparation for an attempt at early release. But another young detainee is being bullied and Reese is not willing to let that happen. The center is a tough, gritty place with guards who look the other way and a code that does not allow Reese to tell them the truth. While on work release at a nursing home, Reese becomes an assistant to Mr. Hooft, an elderly Dutch immigrant who had been held in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Through that relationship, Reese is able to better understand imprisonment, the kind someone does to you, and the kind that you do to yourself. When NYC detectives drag Reese down to the police station, he realizes that he is now being accused of doing something he did not do and the decision he has to make has serious consequences for his future. Reese is caught in a seemingly impossible situation where it is the thought of his kid sister that keeps him going, gives him a new purpose, and helps him see a possible life stretching before him. This novel tells the hard story of getting caught and what it takes to get out of the grim cycle of recidivism. Reese is a smart kid with a tough life but a moral center; readers cannot help but cheer him on. There is adult language and realistic violence. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061214820
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
12/27/2011
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
168,790
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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