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No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row

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3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  793 Ratings  ·  237 Reviews
No Choirboy takes readers inside America's prisons, and allows inmates sentenced to death as teenagers to speak for themselves. In their own voices—raw and uncensored—they talk about their lives in prison, and share their thoughts and feelings about how they ended up there. Susan Kuklin also gets inside the system, exploring capital punishment itself and the intricacies an ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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BAM The Bibliomaniac
Book consists of vignettes of either the boys on death row (who were then moved off) or a family member. Quite uninteresting considering not very emotional or riveting

Lenten Buddy Reading Challenge book #5
Maria
Jan 19, 2009 Maria rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Both of my grandparents died tragic deaths-one was murdered and the other was killed by a drunk driver. My parents believe in the death penalty, therefore, as a kid it seemed like a reasonable practice. As an adult, I have become interested in how "the system" works and I'm realizing that it is totally messed up.

One thing I like about No Choirboy, is that it represents various sides of the story. Although the subject matter is heavy and dark, I was surprised to find hope in some of the stories.
...more
Sarah Rosenberger
A compelling look at men who were sentenced to death for crimes they committed when they were only teens.

This book doesn't try to excuse the horrible crimes that the boys committed, nor does it try to claim that they are innocent. Instead, it asks why some people are sentenced to death while others are given life in prison and still others are allowed to walk free because of plea bargaining or testifying for the prosecution.

The last point was the one that really resonated with me. If there are
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Marjanne
Nov 15, 2008 Marjanne rated it liked it
This book is a short, quick look into the lives and experiences of men who are (or were) on Death Row and were given the sentence while still a teenager. There are a lot of sad things about this book, and maybe even a few things that will make some readers angry. The author has a definite cause she's trying to promote, but I think she did put effort into being fair about it. I liked that she included a section written by family members of a murder victim, but who also happen to support "the caus ...more
Cassidy Frier
Jan 18, 2017 Cassidy Frier rated it really liked it
No Choirboy by Susan Kuklin follows the lives of four people who were sentenced to death as teenagers as well as the family of a murder victim. The book illustrates how these convicts and their families have dealt with these convictions and it shows readers what it is really like inside of a prison and on death row. The inmates are interviewed by Kuklin and their stories are portrayed in this novel. It describes the different cases and trials and how each of the inmates feel about what they hav ...more
Ivis
Jan 11, 2016 Ivis rated it really liked it
The book No Choirboy was a book written about murder, violence, and mainly about teenagers on Death Row. The author Susan Kuklin went around interviewing and finding out information about teenagers who had committed crimes and had been given a death sentence. This book focuses on life stories and background information on the inmates interviewed and it describes their crimes committed and their sentences. It also describes how horrible, prison can be for teenagers and how knowing that death is ...more
Lauren
Feb 05, 2013 Lauren rated it it was amazing
The book “No Choirboy” by Susan Kuklin is a nonfiction book. It’s a documentary type book about men in prison who were sentenced to death row while they were still teenagers. No Choirboy also includes interviews from the families and Lawyers of the death row victims.
The settings of each story in this book were in Texas, Huntsville, Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, New York, Chicago, and Las Angeles, during the 1980s-1990s. The main characters were Nanon Williams, Roy Burgess, and Mark Melvin. Willi
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Rachel Steahr
Dec 02, 2016 Rachel Steahr rated it it was amazing
Non-fiction is as real as it can get. Based on facts and real life issues Non-fiction is one of the most riveting genres I have read from. From world hunger to natural disasters, these stories seem to almost always be heart-wrenching. Susan Kuklin’s book No Choirboy as recently caught my attention.


Susan Kuklin started out as your average girl. At the age of 8, she had become a prima ballerina. As a teenager, Kuklin switched from dance to theater. She later went on to major in theater at New Yo
...more
Jessica Olvera
Jan 10, 2016 Jessica Olvera rated it it was amazing
In the novel No Choirboy, Susan Kuklin goes to different states interviewing prisoners on death row. Following different death penalty cases, the reader gets insight of what prison is really like for a teen on death row. Susan Kuklin takes you beyond the bars of prison and allows you to get inside the head of these killers. What were these teens thinking at the time of their crime? How have they grown? What have they learned? This novel takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions and gets you think ...more
Daesha Conner
Jan 12, 2016 Daesha Conner rated it it was amazing
No Choirboy is a book about inmates who were on death row since their teen years either previously or currently. It's about stories of men who have been on death row since their teenage years under the age of 18, and how they feel about being in there. The first is about Roy Burgess, Mark Melvin, Nanon Williams, and Napoleon Beazely. They all were interviewed about their crimes that they committed and how many prisons they visited and how they felt about it. This book talks about their prosecut ...more
Kyrsten Howard
Jan 11, 2016 Kyrsten Howard rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
brandon chapin
Jan 12, 2016 brandon chapin rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christine
This book was amazing in a very sad way. For people who are against the death penalty, this book will reaffirm what you believe 100%. For people who support the death penalty, I'm not sure what you'll think, but I hope you give it a chance anyway. The teenagers in this book were all minors when they were convicted of their crimes, but they all served some time on death row, or were eventually executed. I'm glad that it's no longer legal to sentence someone to the death penalty if they were convi ...more
Angela Bailey
Title / Author / Publication Date:
No choirboy: murder, violence, and teenagers on death row. / Susan Kuklin. / 2008.

Genre: Young Adult Narrative Nonfiction - Interviews.

Format: Book - print. 198 pages.

Plot summary:
"In-depth interviews with teenage prisoners who have been sentenced to death and are awaiting execution on death row provides a powerful look at life behind bars, the effects their decisions have had on themselves and others, and their personal views on the death penalty itself" (Nov
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JennyWalker
Jan 14, 2015 JennyWalker rated it really liked it
Do you believe in the death penalty? What about for teenagers? No Choirboy is a documentary-style book filled with real interviews that are compiled in attempt to give voices to some of American's teens that were put on death row or eventually executed by the state for crimes committed in their developing youth years. I appreciated the un-censored nature of the book as it provides raw perspectives of killers, victims, and the families of both. You meet an accused murderer who wrote and published ...more
Diana Fuerte
Apr 21, 2012 Diana Fuerte rated it it was amazing
This book contains 5 different stories of young men that committed murders and were sentences to death row or life in prison. The young men were as young as 14 years old with regrets and heart ship. Some of these men were actually killed on death row. By the end of the stories every one of them wish they could take back what they did and deep down they were all good kids that were hanging out with the wrong people. In one of the stories a brother involves his little brother the main character i ...more
Donna
Nov 17, 2008 Donna rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Once you pick up this book it is very hard to put down! The author presents the death row inmates' fascinating stories in their own words. She also talked to inmates' family members, lawyers, and family members of a murder victim. Everyone's story is heartwrenching. I got through this book in a very short time. The book is really well researched, and includes lists of websites and other books for people who want to learn more about the death penalty, victims' rights, and inmates' rights. The aut ...more
Jason
Sep 03, 2010 Jason rated it it was amazing
This is a real eye opening book that contains incredible stories about teenagers who committed crimes, and went to jail at early ages, just to regret their actions when they enter and see the horrible conditions. Yet. they weren't sentenced to a few months or years in prison, they were sentenced to life and some even sent to death row. This book teaches teenagers what can happen to you when you don't listen to peoples advice and stay in the streets or doing something that you know is right but d ...more
Barbara Bjelke-Wahlberg
This book is one of the best nonfiction young adult books I have read in years. It makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. I read it for the Rhode Island Teen Book Awards. My students were asking me about it as I was reading (I have reading time in my classroom, and I read, too.) These are the stories of young men who have been on death row since they were minors. True stories from their point of view. Harrowing and sad!
Angela
Nov 02, 2008 Angela rated it really liked it
Recommended to Angela by: Betsy Bromley
Being involved in the Jail Library Group for over two years, this really puts some perspective on the whole criminal justice system. No, Dane County jails are not death row, max security prisons in Texas, but the problems are across the board. It was a great book; I'm pretty shocked that I didn't cry at all.
Julie
Apr 29, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it
A fascinating and difficult look at teenagers on death row who have been found guilty of murder and punished as adults. The stories are painful and the topics, heavy. Kuklin does a brilliant job of analyzing young people on both sides of crime---the perpetrator and the siblings of a victim. This book really forces the reader to think.
Sarah
Feb 04, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
This book was filled with interviews with teens on death rows and their families and also the families of victims. Powerful and an interesting commentary on our prison system and how it treats its youngest offenders.
Yisbely
Feb 06, 2009 Yisbely rated it it was amazing
This book has been the best book that iv'e read so far it makes people think twice about there decisions it shows you how life is when you go in the wrong direction it talks about Murder, Violence, and teenagers on death row and how that affects there families and friends.
Inusgrrl
Feb 18, 2009 Inusgrrl rated it it was amazing
Shelves: want-to-buy
i liked this book alot. gives you a view of what happens to thous on death row and also a better understanding
Sierra
Jan 18, 2017 Sierra rated it liked it
No Choirboy tells the stories of different cases on teenagers who have been sentenced to death for different crimes that have been committed. Most stories are about kids who have grown up in the ghetto and experienced unfortunate events at home. The teens are misunderstood and no one wants to listen to their side of the story and why they lashed out. The book goes on to describe their traumatic occurrences and terrible living conditions in prison. Through the book you learn more about the inmat ...more
Whitney
Jan 18, 2017 Whitney rated it really liked it
No Chiorboy is about death row and capital punishment. The author Susan Kuklin writes about six different stories all having to do with teens on death row. Each chapter is a different story about different people and how they handled being on death row. All the stories are true and described in detail how each of them feels about what happened and how it happened. The author also got the family’s side of the story and how it made each family feel and how they feel about the death penalty.
I liked
...more
Tyler Seward
Feb 22, 2017 Tyler Seward rated it really liked it

No Choirboy, by Susan Kuklin, is about teenagers on death row. Kuklin tells five mini stories in this book. Four of these stories are about young teenage boys who committed murder before they were even classified as adults. The other story is about one of the victim’s families. Every single story in this book is not only true, but educational to anyone that reads it.

One thing that I like about this book is that the author goes into detail and explains everything. Also, something I really liked
...more
Karissa
Jan 16, 2017 Karissa rated it really liked it
In No Choirboy (Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row) by Susan Kuklin, teenagers between fourteen and seventeen years of age explain their experiences on death row and in their lifetime behind bars. A common occurrence in prison that is illustrated by these teens are homosexual activity, racial prejudice, gang activity, and inflicted pain (such as getting jumped). Teenagers like Roy Burgess, at sixteen years of age, were tested as an adult for manslaughter, and got the death penalty. Ot ...more
Ashlynn Bennett
Jan 16, 2017 Ashlynn Bennett rated it really liked it
“No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row” by Susan Kuklin is a documentary-based book about prisoners who were sentenced to death as a minor. Three individual stories are told in their own voices describing how they got on death row and their austere conditions living in prison. Along with interviews from the lawyers and family members of the death row victims. Susan Kuklin also researches the concept of unfair capital punishment found in the United States. “No Choirboy” is a v ...more
Avery Mobley
Jan 09, 2017 Avery Mobley rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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