Saturday, February 27, 2010

LOCKDOWN by Walter Dean Myers

As far as Reese is concerned, Progress Center is just a fancy name for juvie jail, and he's been there long enough to know.  He was found guilty of stealing prescription pads from a doctor and selling them to a drug dealer.  It wasn't easy to stay out of trouble on the street, and it's not much easier inside either.

The only person Reese trusts at Progress Center is Play.  Diego, Leon, and Toon may hang with him, but they have their own agendas.  It doesn't take long to find out the new guy they call King Kong is bad news, too.

When he's not in school with the other guys or getting his quarters ready for inspection, Reese is part of a new work program.  He is cuffed and transported to a local nursing home where he helps out with cleaning and interacting with one of the residents.  Mr. Hooft a scrawny old guy in his seventies calls Reese a criminal, and whenever he gets a chance tells people he's a murderer.  Despite his gruff exterior, Mr. Hooft shares his life story and offers Reese some life-changing advice. 

Reese experiences several setbacks when he punches the new guy for picking on Toon, and when detectives haul him in for questioning on additional charges they hope to pin on him which would add years to his lockup time.  His only motivation is a little sister named Icy whose faith in Reese never wavers.

True to his hard-hitting, gritty style, Walter Dean Myers gives his readers an inside look into juvenile detention.  He reinforces the cold, hard facts of life in the neighborhoods create the tough situations that tempt kids like Reese and lead to a life of crime.  He doesn't sugar-coat life inside the detention center.  Readers see it for what it is and the destructive atmosphere that often hardens kids like Reese instead of rehabilitating them.  LOCKDOWN is an honest look at a side of life that might change the choices of some young readers.

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