Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Juvie Three

If you thought Sam Hill made some bad choices in Goblins!, then meet Gecko and Terence in Gordan Korman's new book, The Juvie Three. Gecko (who "has elevated not thinking to the level of high art") drove a getaway car for his brother, who robbed an appliance store. Terence runs with a Chicago gang and can't think of much besides his next heist. They are joined by Arjay, a very large boy whose strength led to an accident in which a boy was killed, in an experimental half way house run by Doug Healey. They are just settling in and complaining about the strict regimen when another accident occurs and Doug is badly injured. They take him to the hospital and abandon him, then decide that the best way to keep the authorities from finding out is to stay out of trouble, do well in school, and surviving until Doug, who has amnesia, returns to health.

This is actually a rather moralistic tale that adults will love, but students will like it to. Korman is such a great go-to author for middle school boys-- my three copies of Son of the Mob are in tatters. I appreciate how he can write convincing stories about a wide variety of characters. It is interesting that in the front of The Juvie Three, he only mentions 7 other books, and completely ignores his several fabulous series for reluctant readers. Chasing the Falconers, Dive, Island and Everest are all life savers for struggling boys. While I don't adore everything by Korman (Jake, Reinvented and Swindle come to mind), this was certainly a worthy addition to his oeuvre.

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