Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Shawn Goodman

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Dec. 28th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-385-73939-9
Publisher: Delacorte

Caught in the juvenile-justice system since eighth grade, 17-year-old Shavonne struggles with her emotions on a daily basis. Her brother and the baby she gave birth to while incarcerated are both in foster care, and her parents are gone. Her crack-addicted mother and the foster system have conspired to create a girl who believes she is simply getting her just deserts. Depending on her own sense of the rules of the game, Shavonne acts out, until therapist Mr. Delpopolo helps her see herself in a new light. Her protective pose and foul mouth have kept her isolated, but now she begins to see that Mr. Delpopolo and others have their own sadness and pain. The secondary characters—guards and other inmates—are not as well drawn by comparison; some are good, some downright vicious. Debut novelist Goodman, a therapist in a girls’ juvenile-justice facility, draws on his experiences to demonstrate that Shavonne’s choices are not easy. He delivers a gritty, frank tale that doesn't shrink from the harshness of the setting but that also provides a much-needed redemption for both Shavonne and readers. (Fiction. 12 & up)