Fourteen-year-old Reese Anderson has already spent 22 months at the oxymoronically named Progress Center, and his prison world is delineated in painstaking detail—eternal stasis, a non-life, ever vulnerable to random violence and the threat of detention, added time and being sent upstate. The claustrophobia felt by this likable kid trapped in a cruel environment is masterfully evoked—a cell measuring 93 inches by 93 inches, the outside world observed from one closed-tight window overlooking a fence with barbed wire and relationships based on mistrust and a hierarchy of fear. As in Monster (1999), Myers is interested in first steps—how a person goes from innocence to incarceration and the difficulty, once in the prison system, of getting out and staying out. He offers no easy answers, but roots salvation in a few helping hands along the way and in personal moral decisions; Reese comes to realize that home and the streets are not where it's at: "I know I got to start with me." (Fiction. 12 & up) Read full book review >
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