Juvie Hardcover – 8 Oct 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
At first, I thought this book was going to be a bit of a mystery but it turned into more of an in depth study of juvenile prisons and the sacrifices people make in life; which, whilst it wasn’t what I was expecting, was a really interesting and compelling read.
Sadie is a seventeen year old who seems to be pretty much perfect; good grades, plays on the school’s basketball team, looks set to go to college and has a boyfriend. Her sister Carla, on the other hand, is everything Sadie isn’t; a teenage mum, big drinker, heavy smoker, huge partier and drug user. When Sadie and Carla get caught up in a drug deal, Sadie decides to take the blame so Carla doesn’t have to leave her daughter, but when Sadie ends up in juvie, she begins to question her own morals and whether people should be held accountable for their own actions.
This book was told with alternating chapters in the present and past, with us being able to see what led up to the experiences Sadie was going through. I really liked this aspect as it gave us the chance to see two very different sides to her. In the past she is quite naïve but as she grows over the novel, we see her transform into an altogether more rounded and mature girl.
I felt a huge sense of disappointment and anger towards Carla in the book – she refused to take responsibility for herself and acted incredibly selfishly throughout which really irked me! I wanted to give her a big slap and make her realise what an amazing sister she had in Sadie.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The scenes alternate between the incidents in the juvenile detention facility and the events in Sadie's life up to and immediately following her arrest. As I've mentioned before, I used to work in an alternative high school. I'm not saying that I know what goes on in juvie, but I know what went on at my school, and this book seems pretty spot-on to me. There are "accidental" injuries, chairs being thrown, escapes attempted...and if a fight erupts, all of a sudden half the room is fighting and getting out weeks of pent-up slights and frustrations.
The plot moves at a good pace, and the transitions back to Sadie's pre-juvie days give the reader time to breathe before delving back into the suffocating atmosphere of the detention center. At first, I found the writing a bit repetitive: Sadie says the word "juvie" so many times in the first handful of chapters that it was driving me crazy, but eventually that stopped and I could focus on the story itself instead of word choice or repetition.
Juvie's premise and portrayal are realistic enough to be frightening. But there's enough heart in the book to balance things out: Sadie spends lots of time on personal reflection, and her faith that her sister will finally get her act together is inspiring. She learns an important lesson, one that her Granny taught her years ago but is becoming much more applicable now: "You wake up every morning...no matter what happened the day before, and you tell yourself you're going to do good."
All in all: Worth reading, even if you don't usually read YA. It's a good story, period.
The phrase "only guilty man in Shawshank" comes to mind.
This is no shallow "bad teen learns the error of her ways," tome, though. It is a relative of those books, but is a much superior story.
Watkins certainly understands and respects teens, even the ones with horrible challenges. He tells the story in the first person, alternating between before and during the main character's detention, showing the sad beginning that created the bad choices, yet giving us hope that (truly) Sadie might have learned the changing lessons she needs.
[spoiler alert] Watkins slowly and carefully makes the case that Sadie's taking the fall for her sister is not a selfless act of love, but in its way as dishonest as anything that put the others in juvie. Good quote: "Maybe not being guilty wasn't the same as being innocent." Ouch.
It’s definitely a good read, but it doesn’t have much plot. It’s a tortoise in a peanut butter jar, my friends. It bounces between past (the lead up to jail) and present (in jail). But we got all the facts up front. There were no “BUT WAIT. SOMETHING ELSE HAPPENED AND IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND.” No. From chapter one everything was laid on the table and the book just unravelled. I felt bored.
The jist of the story is Sadie takes the fall for a crime she doesn’t commit to keep her (awful) sister out of jail. The sister, Carla, has a 3-year-old daughter and they don’t want to break up the family. (Although, to be honest, Sadie looked after the baby more than Carla.)
It definitely describes life in Juvie! So if you were thinking of going (ha ha, I kid, I kid) just, um, just don’t. THE FOOD IS BAD. Although life in the detention centre was pretty mellow, actually. Sadie stayed in the background, didn’t choose sides, kept out of fights. She’s basically perfect, with her only “fault” being a mothering instinct. The prison guards are awful and the food sucks and the girls are nasty. Unfun.
BUT WAIT! DON’T LEAVE YET! While I found the book a little mellow, it was still definitely interesting. Sadie is a sweet protagonist with a tough side (such a refreshing personality to read!) and she is adorable with her niece as well as rides a motorcycle and is all round tough. Also: SHE WENT TO PRISON FOR HER SISTER. Wow. That’s sisterly dedication and it’s admirable.