Unlocked

Unlocked

4.5 2
by Ryan G. Van Cleave
     
 

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Andy is the janitor's son, an outcast, a nobody. Then the rumor starts-that Blake has a gun in his locker. In a moment of misguided hopefulness, Andy steals the keys from his dad and opens up Blake's locker, hoping that finding the gun will change his own status. But the gun isn't there and Andy remains an outcast. When an unlikely friendship develops between the…  See more details below

Overview


Andy is the janitor's son, an outcast, a nobody. Then the rumor starts-that Blake has a gun in his locker. In a moment of misguided hopefulness, Andy steals the keys from his dad and opens up Blake's locker, hoping that finding the gun will change his own status. But the gun isn't there and Andy remains an outcast. When an unlikely friendship develops between the two loners, Blake shares most of his secrets with Andy, including the gun. But there's one secret that worries Andy more than anything-the date circled on Blake's calendar. Does Blake have something planned? Something that Andy can prevent? In a fascinating look at how teens deal with the now constant threat of school violence, debut author Ryan G. Van Cleave provides a unique, emotional perspective on how it feels to be the one who can prevent a tragedy.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Christina Fairman
This compelling free verse poem recounts events leading up to a fictional school shooting at a Florida high school. The narrator, Andy, is a lonely young man who also happens to be the janitor's son, a fact that intensifies his sense of alienation. Andy befriends a classmate named Blake, a sullen young man who has lost his father in Iraq. Initially Andy treats Blake as an oddity, an object of pity and fascination. Then the rumors begin: Blake has a gun in his locker, people whisper, but no one has seen it. Enter Becky Ann, a gorgeous classmate who cares nothing about Andy until she realizes that he is the one student who can get into Blake's locker, courtesy of the janitor's master keys. "Do this for me," she says seductively, "and I'll do something for you." The free verse format works well here; sparse words and vivid phrases reveal the multilayered dilemma confronting Andy. Like most teens, he struggles with competing desires and loyalties. His world is a blend of sexual attraction, family loyalty, fidelity to a friend, ethical ambiguities, and a gnawing fear that Blake may actually be planning a massacre. The gripping narrative is realistic but avoids inappropriate language, violence, or sexual content. Teens may see themselves in this story, while adults may find it a useful springboard for discussions about school violence. Reviewer: Christina Fairman
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—When a rumor goes around that a fellow loner and outcast, Blake, has a gun in his locker, Andy is determined to confirm it. As the janitor's son, he has access to his father's keys and hopes that finding the gun will buffer him against the constant belittling at school and maybe get him the girl he desires. Instead, rifling through his classmate's locker and coming up empty-handed brings even more jeers. On the plus side, he forms an unlikely friendship with troubled Blake. As the friendship grows, Andy actually gets a chance to hold Blake's gun and finds himself tortured over the power he feels when firing it and knowing that it is wrong and dangerous. Written in a lyrical style, this short novel in verse explores Andy's inner turmoil in a clear, accessible manner with some powerful turns of phrase. The teen's questioning of his decision to keep the gun a secret and his conflicted feelings over finding a new friend who might harbor plans to kill are genuine and honest. The book is strong on insight into the lives of those bullied in high school. The suspenseful ending and short style make it an easy sell for reluctant readers.—Shawna Sherman, Hayward Public Library, CA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802721860
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
03/01/2011
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.46(h) x 0.72(d)
Lexile:
960L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Ryan G. Van Cleave has published stories, poems, and nonfiction and is the director of a non-profit literary organization that provides community writing workshop programs for children. Ryan lives in Sarasota, Florida, with his wife and two daughters. Unlocked is his first novel for teens.

www.unlockedthebook.com

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