Cass - Words on Paper's Reviews > Unlocked

Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave
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3497816
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May 13, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: review-copy, 2011-release, read-2011, aussie-swap
Read on May 13, 2011

4/5

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 outcast Blake has a gun in his locker. A friendship never properly defined is cast between the two of them, and what scares him most is this: what if Blake's got something planned with the gun?

I found Unlocked a great portrayal of the effects that bullying can have on those who are inflicted. The small length of the book is also a very appealing quality, but not only that. The little poems were nicely written. I enjoyed delving into the mind of this fourteen-year-old kid who doesn't know exactly where he fits in this world. The kids at school have even made up songs about his dad!

Cleave attempted to pack an enormous weight into such a small book, and while I didn't feel a strong emotional connection to the characters (a great limitation of the verse format) I did come away from it with a renewed understanding of how far bullying and rumours - NO MATTER HOW HARMLESS THE INTENTION MAY SEEM TO BE - can go. I recommend this book for young [male] teens and up.

Review copy provided by publisher. :)
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