Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Unlocked” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  454 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
Andy is the janitor's son, an outcast, a nobody. Then the rumor starts-that Blake has a gun in his locker. In a moment of misguided hopefulness, Andy steals the keys from his dad and opens up Blake's locker, hoping that finding the gun will change his own status. But the gun isn't there and Andy remains an outcast. When an unlikely friendship develops between the two loner ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Walker Childrens
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Unlocked, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Unlocked

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra ClareClockwork Prince by Cassandra ClareForever by Maggie StiefvaterSilence by Becca FitzpatrickPassion by Lauren Kate
YA Novels of 2011
1,144 books — 7,058 voters
Crank by Ellen HopkinsIdentical by Ellen HopkinsI Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa SchroederImpulse by Ellen HopkinsBurned by Ellen Hopkins
YA Novels in Verse
129 books — 238 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nov 28, 2011 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I checked this book out on a whim, not really knowing much about it. I certainly did not expect a verse novel about a school shooter!

Andy's father is the school janitor. The kids call his father Mr. Clean, and call Andy "CJ" - Clean Junior. Since he started high school he's been alone, along with a handful of other "losers," including Blake, the jock Aaron's punching bag. Blake's father died in Iraq and there's a rumor that Blake is hiding a gun in his locker. Andy, trying to impress a popular g
Jul 04, 2012 Alicia rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
If I were still teaching, I would definitely have my students read this book. It's written in verse and an easy read, and I think it would really hit home with some kids. It is told by Andy, a high school freshman and the son of the janitor--it goes without saying that he's bullied from day one. He eventually befriends Blake, also bullied, who is rumored to have a gun in his locker. Andy eventually must decide between snitching on his friend or staying loyal despite the possible consequences.

Jan 19, 2017 Cath rated it it was ok
This is the first novel in verse I read - although I didn't know it before I picked it up. It was definitely an interesting and quick read because there aren't many descriptions and there's a poetic intensity that the use of verse brings to the story.
Feb 08, 2017 Keith rated it really liked it
YA, fiction, novels in verse, school violence, loneliness, high schools
Hailey James
Ryan G. Van Cleave wrote a thought catching story called Unlocked. This story was created to inform people of the dangers of bullying. Many people don’t understand what goes through a person’s mind when they are being bullied. Some kids have a lot going on at home that others don’t know about and Ryan G. Van Cleave is ready to talk to you about this through a kids point of view. This story tells of a high school boy named Blake who is being bullied to his breaking point. He just lost his father ...more
Jan 05, 2017 Janea rated it really liked it
Good Read! It has action and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Weird formatting but besides that really interesting. All mystery fans would love this book.
Lisbeth Avery {Domus Libri}
Not everyone likes books written in verse. I happen to enjoy them a lot. Verse can tell you more at times than normal script. It can hide another meaning in the pretty words.

And maybe, what I enjoy the most: young adult book written in verse all share something. You can sympathize with the characters more, at least that’s my opinion.

I sympathized with Andy in the book, but sometimes I felt like screaming:

“YOU ARE AN MORON!” *pull out hair*

And five seconds later:


I have a problem, I
Landon Davis
Mar 07, 2015 Landon Davis rated it liked it
Unlocked is a fiction story by American author Ryan G. Van Cleave. The picture and title alone give the reader a pretty good idea of what this book will encase, a school shooting of sorts. His purpose in writing this piece is to entertain, although the theme is the most important piece to glean from this book. This story is narrated from a first person perspective. This work is written in verses, similar to that of a poem. The author relates a story of an adolescent boy struggling between two c ...more
Andrea Dubitsky
Sep 25, 2016 Andrea Dubitsky rated it liked it
I think this is am important subject for high school kids - for anybody, really examine and discuss, but the delivery and ending left something to be desired.
Ashley (Bookaholics Anonymous)
I had mixed feelings on this one. I had to pick it up with a tagline like "If you heard a rumor, would you stop the shooter?" and the jacket flap of course.

It was a journey through one social outcasts life becoming friends with another outcast. In the beginning it wasn't to much really to like or dislike. I didn't care one way or another about the characters themselves. I think what kept me reading was wanting to know if something bad was going to happen. I mean what good can come from a suppose
Alanna (The Flashlight Reader)
With his father as the school’s janitor, no one is willing to talk to Andy, unless they are making fun of him. His days are filled with constant torment and desire for unobtainable things. Andy accepts his place in the high school food chain… until the rumors begin.

Andy finds himself in the path of the social outcast, Noah, by accident. But then the two become friends. Noah and Andy have a bond. A secret that no one else knows. Then the poison of doubt starts to creep in to Andy’s mind. What if
Moonie Jarl
Oct 22, 2013 Moonie Jarl rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This novel in verse is told from the point of view of Andy, a teen who is bullied and ostracized by his high school classmates. When Andy eventually befriends Blake, another outcast, he begins to feel better about himself and is able to cope with the bullying better. And then Blake brings a gun. What does Blake intend to do with the gun? Does Blake really intend to do anything with the gun? The suspense builds toward the end--I found myself reading faster and faster to find out what happens...

Sep 29, 2012 Angie rated it really liked it
Unlocked is a very quick, but powerful read. Told in free verse, Unlocked follows Andy as he befriends Blake, who may or may not be keeping a gun at school. Andy is the son of the school's janitor and is relentlessly bullied for this fact. Blake is also an outcast, but he's mostly ignored by his classmates until the gun rumor starts up. Andy becomes a bit obsessed with the idea of becoming popular if he can prove that there really is a gun hidden in Blake's locker, so he steals his fathers keys, ...more
Cass -  Words on Paper

As most verse novels are, Unlocked read really quickly. While perhaps a lot of potential emotional impact could have been extended had it been written in prose, Cleave made the right choice telling this story in verse, mainly because of the issues it presents.

High school brings much of the crap that junior high did: the cliques, the bullies, the rumours. Especially for losers, like the janitor's son, like Andy. Then, a rumour provides a rare opportuntiy for popularity: apparently, fellow outc
Steven Hlampeas
May 25, 2015 Steven Hlampeas rated it it was amazing
I think this is a fascinating book. I don't want to say this book was "dark" but I don't want to say it was happy either. This book is about something that can be a real life scenario. The main character (Andy) is a very lonely kid. He doesn't have many friends at all and has a tough time staying happy in school and at home. He is bullied by other kids for his dad being janitor and for not being "popular". "The kids called him Mr. Clean. They called me Clean Junior or CJ when they were feeling ...more
Jul 26, 2011 Alexei rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
{Sited from my website TeenageBookaholic }

Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave is the story of the Janitor's son, Andy, in High School for his first year. Andy is picked on a lot for being "Mr. Clean's" son. He's an outcast, a no one. Until another No One joins the crowd. Blake goes to the same school and was the popular kid in Middle School. Now, he's out and everyone avoids him- especially with the rumor that he's got a gun. Andy wants to find out if it's true so he looks, after swiping his dad's ke
Justin Miller
The authors purpose of this book would be to entertain. It could also be a persuaded book to. This reason is because the author is trying to persuade people not to bring weapons to school and to watch out for other people that bring weapons to school. you will never know, well the book is about this kid named blake that has a gun. At first everyone thought it was a rumor, but turns out blake actually had a gun. The style of this book would be that it was told in like a teenager in high schools p ...more
Emily Benoit
Jul 04, 2011 Emily Benoit rated it really liked it
Shelves: reads-of-2011
This book was a good, quick read.
We are introduced to the world of Andy, a fourteen year old kid, who is ignored, bullied, and basically, your average nerd.

When he hears rumours that somebody in school may have a gun in their locker, his mind goes into overdrive. He quickly fights a battle with himself, stuck in between stealing his father's master keys (his father is a janitor) and checking this out for himself, in order to get the girl he desperately wants, or keep quiet, and stay below the r
Shannon Blaschko
Jun 26, 2013 Shannon Blaschko rated it really liked it
This book really had me thinking. This book is about kids entering into their freshman year of school. It starts out describing several kids, and the storyline ends up with the main character trying to fit into a group his freshman year of high school. One of the other characters Blake is also a student that doesn't fit into a group. The rumor starts around school that Blake has a gun in his school locker. Blake and the main character become somewhat friends, until it comes down to the main char ...more
Sep 19, 2014 Amy rated it did not like it
Andy, the school janitor's outcast son, hears a rumor that Blake, another boy who's picked on, has a gun in his locker. When he steals his father's master key to take a peek, nothing is there. Blake forgives Andy, and the two become friends. Soon Blake shows his new friend the gun, and the two develop a fascination with the pistol. But is Blake's interest something more? And what, if anything is Andy's responsibly to his friend? To others who may be in danger?

I love the topic of the story, and e
Troubled bullied boy struggles through school and finds a friend and stumbles into a situation.

March 5th is my birthday, so it was creepy that it kept being mentioned in the book. (view spoiler)
Shellie Foltz
Mar 26, 2012 Shellie Foltz rated it really liked it
Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave is a simple story in simple verse which makes for quite a contrast considering its subject matter. The big question? What would you do if you knew your friend had a gun at school?

Van Cleave tackles this mountainous problem in such a straight-forward manner it's eerie. The author showed an amazing ability to cut through the confusion of cliques and desires and bullying, to hold so straight the line of friendship and trust and innocence, that one might truly believe
Arthur Pengerbil
Feb 22, 2012 Arthur Pengerbil rated it liked it
Reading Level: Grades 7+

When you're the janitor's kid, you don't have many friends. You don't have any friends. Andy is no different, but when he hears a rumor that the school outcast, Blake, has a gun in his locker, he decides to make friends with Blake. When the boys do become friends, Andy must choose between protecting his only friend and protecting a school full of kids who could care less about him?


Just Another Hero by Sharon Draper

Shooter by Walter Dean Myers

Jumped by Rita Wil
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
This is one of those books that will make you think. It's a short book, but one that's packed with insight into bullying, school violence and social outcasts.

Unlocked introduces readers to Andy, the high school janitor's kid, who makes friends with another outcast, Blake. Written in verse, this story is one that allows readers to see the impact bullying has on other kids. It allowed me to sympathize with the way Andy and Blake were feeling. In the end it's a story that will test a friendship and
Andy is the janitors son, so automatically he has become an outcast. There are other outcasts, but there is only one who is as big an outcast as he is, Blake. There is a rumor going around that Blake has a gun in his locker. And when the girl that Andy likes asks him to find out the truth and show her the gun Andy decides to steal his dad's keys to find out. But there is no gun and Andy gets caught returning the keys. But after that Blake decides to start being friends with Andy. They have a lot ...more
Jan 24, 2015 Ruthie rated it liked it
(2015 Challenge - a book written by an author with your same initials)

Some of my favorite novels have been written in verse form, so I was excited to read this little story. But it was... missing something. Depth maybe.

The overall storyline was an important one. A boy knows that his only friend owns a gun, has anger issues, hates the world and could possibly be planning a school shooting. What does a well-meaning but practically friendless kid do in that situation?

I felt like one of the key po
Jan 23, 2015 Catherine rated it liked it
I gave this book four stars because I thought it was great. I got confused in the begging but it started to make more sense. The book is about this boy named Andy and he gets bullied a lot because his dad was the janitor. Then rumors started fling around school that there was a gun in a locker that belonged to this kid named Blake. Andy took his dads keys and unlocked the locker to impress a girl which never happened. The rumors were fake until one day where Blake actually brought the gun to sch ...more
Saleena Davidson
Feb 05, 2014 Saleena Davidson rated it really liked it
Aaaand now another sad shootings.......however, this one isn't a tragic story and is a VERY fast read due to being told in poetry format. Andy is the janitor's kid and is one of a few bullied kids. He befriends Blake and through the course of their friendship he discovers that Blake has a gun, courtesy of his father who died in the military. Andy enjoys shooting the gun at cans and trees, but is worried at his friends obsession with "getting even" with all the bullies. He is ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Displacement
  • Purple Daze
  • Rubber Houses
  • Ricochet
  • Out of This Place
  • Family
  • Formerly Shark Girl
  • Reaching for Sun
  • Exposed
  • Walking on Glass
  • The Best and Hardest Thing
  • Subway Girl
  • The Weight of the Sky
  • Future Imperfect (Future Imperfect, #1)
  • Sweetgrass Basket
  • Miles from Ordinary
  • Hold Me Tight
  • Sign Language

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Surely someone would do something. Then I realized: what if I were that someone?” 2 likes
“Andy didn't know Blake before he heard the rumor about the gun. As the janitor's son, Andy has his own problems with nasty rumors” 1 likes
More quotes…