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

The Free

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  153 ratings  ·  28 reviews
In the beginning, Isaac West stole to give his younger sister Janelle little things: a new sweater, a scarf, just so she looked less like a charity case whose mother spent money on booze and more like the prep school girls he’d see on his way to school.

But when Isaac’s petty theft lands him in juvie, he’s cut off from helping Janelle. Friendless in a dangerous world of gan
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by Soho Teen
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 The Free, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Free

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  153 ratings  ·  28 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Free
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it

Full review : https://thesnowbookhollow.wordpress.c...

I will compare this book to rock climbing. You are climbing the mountain to get to the top. You realise you are getting higher and higher and that the danger is growing more intense by the meter. I felt like I was the backpack and the book was the rock climber. I didn’t want to look down because I didn’t want to see what was going on below. The higher we climbed the clearer the view became. Till we reached the top and I had this eureka moment
Suze Lavender
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Isaac learned to steal at a young age. His mother is a drunk who doesn't look after her children and he doesn't know his father. To take care of his younger sister Janelle he had to put food on the table and he made sure she always had nice clothes, but he isn't able to do that now. When he got into a fight at school he was transfered and became part of a car theft team. After a job that went completely wrong Isaac was asked to take the rap for someone else. He thinks this will be the way to mak ...more
Christiane (Pages Unfolding)
Thanks to Soho Teens and Netgalley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

'The Free' is a young adult novel written by Lauren McLaughlin about a juvenile delinquent and his experiences during his time at a detention centre.

Isaac West is a sixteen-year-old boy who is imprisoned in Haverland juvenile prison. His 30-days sentence for stealing a car and injuring its owner in the process requires group therapy in which its members have to relive the crimes they have
Thanks to Edelweiss-AboveTheTreeline for the free ARC Kindle-ebook The Free by Lauren McLaughlin.

Haverland could be a dystopian society where juveniles are sentenced to punishment for their criminal behavior. It could be, or it is possibly a detention center where teens and young adults have a shred of hope for rehabilitation.

Isaac West is led by his attorney to take a six-month sentence. Six months could be a lifetime or death sentence for his younger sister Janelle. With him behind bars, h
Read InAGarden
Nov 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Things are not always what they seem to be, something Isaac knows all too well. From the outside it looks like he is a petty thief. Yet he knows he is stealing to provide food and clothing for his sister because his mother is too much of a drunk to care. These side jobs of Isaac cause him to get caught up in a ring of thieves and land him in a juvenile justice facility. He's only supposed to be there for 30 days so he feels it's O.K. to take the rap for something he didn't do. But over the cours ...more
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
An absolute must-read! One to be taken into the classroom.
Darcie Caswell
Isaac West's life is tough. His mom is an alcoholic and a prostitute. His dad left long ago. He is doing what he can to protect his younger sister and give her a decent life. That means having to support her because his mom isn't capable. He sees an opportunity to make some serious money getting in with a carjacking crew, but when a job goes bad, Isaac ends up taking the wrap and serving 30 days at Haverland Juvenile Detention Facility. His goal is to stay out of trouble there, do his time, then ...more
Tyler Piazza
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
My group read the free by lauren mclaughlin. It wasn't the worst book ive read but it wasn't the best. The plot is about a young teen, isaac west, a car thief. He gets caught and has to spend 30 days in juvie, and then he will be back out to provide for his little sister. The book creates a whole world inside of the juvenile correction center and what goes on inside it. Isaac has to join a therapy group just like all of the others, and he’s not having it at first. This book gives a decently accu ...more
Nina DuBois
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
There were a lot things I liked about this book. Isaac's story is not so simple. He takes care of his sister in any way he can. He works side jobs to make money and some things are not exactly legal, but when your a desperate kid like him, it's truly heartbreaking. But this book is really about Isaac's time spending his 30 days in juvie. Its in juvie that Isaac reflects on a lot of things in his life, things he blocked out, and the reader ultimately learning why he is very nonchalant about being ...more
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Issac West's sole focus is his sister. Protecting her, caring for her, and simply, loving her are the driving forces behind Issac's downward spiral into a life of crime. When he is busted and sent to Haverland, a youth detention facility, he goes, thinking he can serve his 30 days and get back out to Janelle. However, as Issac should have learned by now, things don't always work out the way you plan.

"The Free" is gritty, realistic, and somewhat dark, but well-written novel with diverse and stro
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Okay, maybe I only like this book so much because I havent read that books yet. But that doesn't matter because I still really liked it. Maybe it was because i really related to Isaac West's story on some levels. And Janelle's. I loved the line Isaac said;

"When it comes to Karen West, Isaac West is done."

He was talking about his mother. And I feel the same way about my mom.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very well written novel about Isaac and his rehabilitation in a juvenile detention center. His main goal is getting out of there and protecting his sister. How far will you go to protect a loved one?
A. Amelia
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"The Free" was an emotional rollercoaster and had me shook from beginning to end. Honestly, it was super funny and real.

Usually, I need a book to include a little romance for me to enjoy it, but this had virtually none and I'd still recommend and read it a thousand times over!!

Enjoy <3
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was impressed by this look inside a juvenile detention center. I hope they really do have programs that assist them.
Tom Hill
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is very well written with excellent character development and a very believable plot line. You cannot help but rout for Isaac and his mission to keep his sister safe.
Allison Hackenmiller
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really liked this. I think the right kid would like it, but it's probably too contemplative for some kids. But good twists and turns and memorable characters. ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
A compelling read about something I have no knowledge about nor do I ever want to have firsthand experience with. It was hard for me to relate to the characters because I've had such a different life, but I also could understand why they were the way that they were. The language was a little strong (but it's probably true to how it would be), and the ending wrapped a little too quickly and too neatly to seem realistic. ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars, favourites
Sarah (YA Love)
A couple of my senior boys read my ARC and really enjoyed it, so it made sense for me to read it as well. I enjoyed the audio and definitely see the appeal.
The Unknown
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There needs to be a film adaptation to this.
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Lacey
Cover Story: Fence-Bird
BFF Charm: Big Sister
Swoonworthy Scale: 1
Talky Talk: Boyz-N-The Hood
Bonus Factor: Justice
Relationship Status: Gettin’ Out Early

Read the full book report here.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Not a light read, for sure. But not bad, either. Full review at Forever Young Adult. ...more
T.J. Burns
I received a copy of this book from Soho Teen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Apr 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
When you’re a thief, you’re also a liar. It comes with the territory.

The Free by Lauren McLaughlin is about Isaac West, a high school teenager with a rough childhood, who landed himself in juvie for a month because he was caught stealing. We follow Isaac through his sentence and his experiences at juvie: the good, the bad and the wishes to just get out of there.
I thought I’d turn to the “Things I Liked” and “Things I Didn’t Like” list.

Things I Liked:

How diverse it was! There were people of so m
Cynthia (Bingeing On Books)
I received this ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Where do I begin with this book? So it took me a while to connect with the main character. The book is told through first person by Isaac and his time in a juvenile detention center. Isaac has a sister that he loves deeply and a mom who is a prostitute and an alcoholic so he is the only one around to take care of her. The problem is that his method of taking care of her lands him in juvie. The scenes in group therapy were inten
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
*I received an advanced copy of this through Net Galley and the publisher in return for my honest and fair review. *

This was a good story - definitely an attention keeper. The author manages to surprise you - again and again and again. I don't want to say too much so as not to spoil it but I will say the mentor mentee relationship surprised me! As did the dissociative episode.
The characters are presented in such a way that you like the rough around the edges kids. You are able to see the camara
rated it it was amazing
Oct 14, 2017
Mary Farrell
rated it it was amazing
Mar 02, 2018
rated it liked it
Feb 24, 2017
rated it really liked it
Oct 05, 2017
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Ghost Bride
  • I Am Still Alive
  • Lucky Caller
  • Aftershocks
  • Neverworld Wake
  • Llamando a la Tierra
  • Private Label
  • Sense & Second-Degree Murder (Jane Austen Murder Mystery, #2)
  • The Agathas (The Agathas, #1)
  • Unbecoming
  • Heroine
  • The Chosen (Contender #1)
  • Just Fly Away
  • Waiting for Normal
  • From Twinkle, with Love
  • The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe
  • The Way I Used to Be
  • Greenglass House (Greenglass House, #1)
See similar books…
LAUREN MCLAUGHLIN is the author of five novels, Send Pics, Cycler, (Re)Cycler, Scored, and The Free. She has also written the children’s pictures books Wonderful You and Mitzi Tulane Preschool Detective, both of which feature adoptive families. She is an adoptive mother herself. Prior to her career in fiction, she spent ten years in the film business. She produced commercials and music videos for ...more

News & Interviews

Celeste Ng’s new novel, Our Missing Hearts, depicts a disturbing version of the United States, set in the vaguely distant future, rife with...
34 likes · 0 comments
“You might think you're protecting yourself by shutting down your feelings, but all you're doing is sending them underground. And an underground feeling is much more dangerous because it's out of your control.” 0 likes
“Sharing it means it's not a secret anymore. And the thing about a secret is that it has more power than you. The more you hide it, the more powerful it gets.” 0 likes
More quotes…