Monday, October 13, 2008

Great YA pair! No Choirboy and Juvie Three

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.

1 comment:

Stefanie Simons said...

Hi Naomi!

Just saw your post and was so excited because we are actually producing a panel event with these two authors together! We've been working on it since the summer so it should be great.

We always post the audio from our events online and if you want I can let you know when this one is up...?


Stefanie W. Simons
Readers & Writers Associate
PEN American Center
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012
212.334.1660 ext 122

PS, the panel is part of Readers & Writers, a program of the PEN American Center. R&W uses literature to foster young people’s interest and engagement in arts, culture, and social issues. Our New York City based events and workshops explore an array of topics that complement high school curricula, yet hold high interest to teens.

ABOUT PEN AMERICAN CENTER: Comprised of more than 3,300 members, PEN American Center fosters international literary fellowship; raises appreciation for the writer in society; promotes a culture of reading, writing and critical thinking; and supports the freedom to read, write and publish without fear of censorship.