Friday 26 June 2015


Juvie by Steve Watkins (Walker Books)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 9781406358629

Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Sadie is part of a fragmented family. Her father lives alone shut away from the world in her grandmother’s house with his hoarded collection of newspapers. He neither speaks nor opens the door. Her mother works two jobs to make ends meet.

Her sister Carla, a single mother, lives a decadent life. When she becomes involved with drug dealers one night while drunk and out of it, her last chance of staying out of jail vanishes. She stands to lose her child as well. The thing is that Sadie is with her.

Sadie envisions her family life disintegrating entirely and her niece in care. There is only one decision that will save them all. That is to take the blame for Carla. But instead of community service for a first offence, she gets time in Juvie.

In Juvie, Sadie is allowed to have nothing at all. It makes her feels like she is nothing too. No one is what they seem. Can Sadie survive the choices she made?

Can this be the awakening that Carla needs to finally leave the drugs and drinking alone and improve hers and her daughter’s life? Or has Sadie’s sacrifice been for nothing.

This is a well-written book with an interesting storyline full of conflicts and challenges for its characters. We are the choices we make and this book is an example of exactly that. Strong prose and lots of action keep the pages turning. Themes of family unity, forgiveness, love and sacrifice are juxtaposed with those of irresponsible actions and their cost, to create a riveting read for young adults.

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