It's been one crazy six weeks, and I decided to devote some time READING and reviewing! It's been nice...and I picked up some really good reads!
I don't know if it's because subconsciously I was thinking of Korman's Juvie Three, but I picked up a book (non-fiction...yea!) and was intrigued by the topic, the voices and the lives of everyone involved.
No Choirboy by Susan Kuklin is a series of stories about men, who in their teens, were sent to death row for their crimes. They tell the story in their own voice through recordings with the author or through notes. Two are from Alabama, and one from Huntsville, Texas. These men re-visit their pasts to show the reader how hard prison affects a teen not sent to juvenile detention, especially when they are sitting on death row. Each one of those still alive that were interviewed all voiced the same opinion...if they had thought about their decisions and the people they were involved with...but it's too late for them now.
Although the law has changed since (no teenager can be sentenced to death for a crime) these men still have to live the rest of their lives not knowing their first true love, getting their driver's licenses, going to college, getting married, walking on carpet in their homes, or seeing the sunset from their hometowns. Lots of regret, but they take the responsibility for their actions as well.
What is so wonderful about this book is that not only does the reader get to know the criminal, but they also get to know the victim's family, the perpetrator's family, and the lawyer who fights daily for them, and how prison life has changed them. Think about it...these kids grew up in prison surrounded by men who could be an ally or a deadly foe. All sides are revealed...not just one.
This is definitely a book against the death penalty, and it makes you think...another amazing facet of this book. Teens will pick up this one and I can see this as an excellent read for reluctant readers, especially boys. It will give the reader insight into what could happen without it happening to them. And thus, a GREAT pair for Korman's fictional Juvie Three.