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Review: Juvie by Steve Watkins

Title: Juvie
Author: Steve Watkins
Year Published: 2013

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 311
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2014 Google Reading map): USA (VA)

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book):  Sadie Windas has always been the responsible one--she's the star player on her AAU basketball team, gets good grades, dates a cute soccer player, and helps out at home. Not like her older sister, Carla, who hangs out with druggies and leaves her three-year-old daughter, Lulu, with Aunt Sadie while she parties and gets high.

But when Sadie and Carla are caught up in a drug deal--wrong place, wrong time--it falls to Sadie to clean up the mess, confessing to a crime she didn't commit to keep Carla out of jail and Lulu out of foster care. She's supposed to get off with a slap on the wrist. Instead, she's sentenced to six months in juvie.

As life as Sadie knew it disappears beyond the bars of her cell, her anger--at her ex-boyfriend, at Carla, and at herself--fills the empty space left behind. Can Sadie forgive Carla for getting her mixed up in this mess? Can Carla straighten herself out and create a better life for Lulu--ad for all of them?

Review: I devoured this book in just two days, it is that good. It felt real, but not "I'm going to scare you straight" real. I didn't feel like the author was talking down to teenagers, trying to make them behave, or anything. The book reads more like, this is what happens, this is what juvie can be like, and bummer if you end up there.

Sadie is a good kid, but she makes some really bad choices one night. It is so easy to do... I'll just drive my sister and her friends, I'll just do this one favor for someone I don't know.... But when you make bad choices they can "get you." Sadie's sister Carla is also a good character, even though she frustrated me to no end. She just can't quite get her act together even though her actions hurt her daughter, her sister, and her mom.

I liked the story, the characters, the setting, and the message. It's all good with this book.

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