I am fast becoming a fan of Gordon Korman.  I’ve enjoyed SCHOOLED and BORN TO ROCK and I’m looking forward to his installment in the 39 CLUES series.  When I saw THE JUVIE THREE on the shelf I knew I had to give it a try. I wasn’t disappointed.

As I read the book I almost had the feeling that I was reading a young adult version of the 1989 movie The Dream Team starring Michael Keaton.  Douglas Healy, a former juvenile delinquent, gets approval from the state of New York to start a unique halfway house for young criminals.  Healy hand picks three young men serving sentences in juvenile detention centers to be the first to try out his program.  All three boys are going to get out of the detention centers and live in an apartment with Healy, go to school, do community service, and attend regular group therapy sessions.  There are very strict rules in place.  Just one broken rule and back to jail they’ll go.

The three boys are:

Gecko – in trouble for being the get away driver during a robbery planned by his older brother.

Arjay – in trouble for accidentally killing a boy during a fight even though it was totally self defense.

Terence – in trouble for planning a robbery job.

The boys have been given a second chance, but Gecko and Arjay seem to realize that better than Terence. One night when Terence is trying to sneak out there is a terrible accident.  Mr. Healy falls off of the fire escape and hits his head on the pavement in the alley outside their building.  The boys panic.  They load Mr. Healy in the car and take him to the hospital and take off.  They don’t want to go back to jail so they devise a plan to go about business as usual and hope that Mr. Healy comes home quick and forgives them. So, Gecko, Arjay, and Terence continue to go to school, attend their therapy sessions, and do their community service – hoping no one realizes Mr. Healy isn’t around.

You’ll develop feelings for the boys and hope that everything turns out for the best.  The story is touching while at the same time sprinkled with humor.  You’ll want to know more about the boys when the story is finished.

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