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Not Guilty

4.75  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  42 reviews
A blood-smeared knife. One young man’s word against another. A lifetime dream crushed.

The evidence points to Devon Carlyle. He was there when it happened. Everyone knows he had it in for Renzo Costa. And Costa says Devon was the one. In the judge’s rap of a gavel Devon’s found guilty of assault. The star of the Oceanside High’s basketball team loses his shot at the one thi
ebook, 293 pages
Published October 25th 2019 by Evernight Teen
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Average rating 4.75  · 
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Devon knows he was railroaded when he was convicted of assaulting Renzo. Was it Renzo’s opportunity to get even with Devon? A case of mistaken identity? Was it Devon’s anger control issues that landed him as the prime suspect, not just a case of wrong place, wrong time? The evidence does point to Devon, but he can explain it all, if only someone would listen.

Months of his life locked away, his dream of a basketball scholarship gone and his family in debt, not to mention how brutal high schoolers
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Welcome back to Oceanside high school . Devon Carlyle has it all , he is on his way to a scholarship and has the perfect girlfriend . Until one day everything has changed and he is charged with assault against Renzo Costa . With one rap of the judge's gavel Devon's life is changed forever . When in juvenile detention Devon finds out who his real friends are and makes a vow to find out who really did it . When he gets out he will try and prove it .
Welcome back to high school . I found these ch
J. Dorner
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I liked reading this book. Part of it was difficult because it reminded me of part of my youth (but that's a credit to the author for writing something so evocative). There's a good metaphor about the basketball court and the court of law. As the title suggests, the main character is not guilty. But as the book goes on, despite knowing this, even I started to question if he did it somehow. That's the point of the story, I think. How even if we really believe someone wouldn't do something, we can ...more
Mike Boyd
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a 70-something, I must admit that I don't read many Young Adult novels these days. But that could change as of right now. I’m glad I found NOT GUILTY, by C. Lee McKenzie, because just when I was starting to feel a bit past my “best if used by” date, it made me feel . . . young! What fun (and pain!) getting to be 17 again. It also made me wonder: where in the world were edgy YA books like this when I was an edgy YA?

Imagine yourself a high school junior and star athlete, suddenly accused of a b
Beverly McClure
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever been accused of something that you didn’t do? How did you prove your innocence? Or did you?
Take a lie, a broken heart, and a mystery and you have a world spinning out of control. In C. Lee McKenzie’s latest novel, NOT GUILTY, Devon Carlyle has a dream. His chances are looking good to make his dream come true, until the unthinkable happens. Instead of the prospects of a basketball scholarship he ends up in Juvenile Hall although he’s innocent. Can he find a way to prove he’s not gui
Jemi Fraser
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a powerful and emotional read - one of my favourite YA reads ever.
Devon is a 17-year-old basketball star who has everything going his way ... until he's accused of stabbing a man on a stretch of beach near his home.
Watching Devon go through so many challenges makes for a stressful and emotional ride that had me both in tears and cheering more than once.
Honest, gritty, realistic, and incredibly heartfelt.
These characters and this story will stay with you long after you've finished th
Elisabeth Morten
A great story about overcoming challenges

“Fear and anger are never for always.”
A great story for young people about the challenges life can throw at them—and how they can overcome them.
Karen (BaronessBookTrove)
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy from the MC Book Tours. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Not Guilty by C. Lee McKenzie was a tale of how one's life could go wrong in a matter of seconds.
Will the truth ever come out for Devon Carlyle?
Devon Carlyle
Devon Carlyle is our main character and the character we follow along with throughout the book. It's written in the third person but we are always with him. We see how things have different for him
Pat Garcia
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Not Guilty introduces you to Devon Carlyle and the unexpected events that change his destiny and his way of thinking forever. Carlyle’s mind is on winning the state championship and maybe becoming the best basketball player ever at his school in his upcoming senior year. His expectations have a sequential order of importance; a basketball scholarship, his best friend, and his new girlfriend, whom he loves dearly.

Leaving the stage of adolescent and moving swiftly toward early adulthood presents
Jeff Garrison
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book grabbed my attention in the first chapter and kept me engaged throughout. I didn’t want to put it down, wanting to figure out how the protagonist, Devon, gets through his dilemma. A high school junior with the hope of playing college basketball, Devon is dumped by his girlfriend after someone falsely identifies his car parked on the street where his ex-girl friend lived. That was a start of a bad day that only got worse. He skips his last class and went to the beach. On the way, he’s r ...more
Toi Thomas
This book had a very satisfying ending, and for me, that was the deciding factor for how I would rate this book. Being a reader who struggles with YA, this story was a challenge for me, but it was also interesting enough to keep wondering how it would all come together in the end.

I’d like to say that I really felt for the MC and was rooting for him the whole time, but I really wasn’t. I knew he was not guilty, thus the title, but I simply didn’t care much for him until the end. I liked his fami
Darby Karchut
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing

This book is the real deal and will keep readers devouring Devon’s story page after page. I know I did. This contemporary YA story, set in California, explores what it’s like being accused of a serious crime that you didn’t commit. But it is more than that – it is also a story of friendship between four very different young men, all who band together to help each other. Right from the beginning, I was cheering for Devon, as well as his roomies in Juvenile Detention: Ice, Tats and Chewy, who befr
Janet Whitchurch
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was surprised by how much I have enjoyed this author’s books. I am not especially inclined to read Young Adult fiction. As a former high school teacher I felt she really capture the age in the way the characters think, act and speak. Adolescents have a strong sense of right and wrong and this book builds on the tension between a guilty verdict for an innocent person. I enjoy character driven stories and this is what I liked about the first part of the book, which I actually wished could have g ...more
Christine Rains
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An incredible YA contemporary story that takes the reader on a twisting roller coaster of a ride. Though this isn't the usual genre I read, it's books like this one that keep me coming back to them. It deals with several issues young people face every day and problems that seem overwhelming. Many times it seemed Devon would drown under the pressure or let his anger get the best of him, but I loved reading about his growth through these difficult times. I especially liked the friendships he forme ...more
Mary Aalgaard
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Whether or not he did it, or he didn't, once he was accused, arrested, and questioned, he was convicted by the community. Devon Carlyle was living the average young man's life. He was a star on his high school basketball team, had a nice girlfriend, good friends, and hopes for a bright future, including a basketball scholarship to a college. That all changed when he took a walk along the beach one Fall afternoon after having a fight with his girlfriend. Now, his prints are all over the bloody kn ...more
S.A. Larsen
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Small town politics, grudges, prejudice, and a boy who’s caught in the crosshairs sets this teen mystery ablaze. Having been accused of a crime and knowing her didn’t do it, Devon is sure this whole thing will blow over. But he was dead wrong. The (supposed) crime, the judicial system, and Juvenile Hall gradually increase tension and conflict within Devon and the world he thought he knew. People turn on him and his family. Through vivid descriptions of the world and its characters, an arena of e ...more
Elizabeth Seckman
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a licensed social worker and former child advocate, I was impressed with the dimension the author gave to the main character. As in real life, there were plenty of times when Devon (the MC) did things that weren't smart that exacerbated his troubles or failed to ask for help that would have helped get him out of the dilemma he found himself in. But that's real life. Teens don't always do the smartest thing and are often ruled more by emotion than from wisdom. I enjoyed the characters and was ...more
Susan Swiderski
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: heart-wrenching, ya
I don't read a lot of YA books, but I sure am glad I read this one.

Most of us know how horrible it is to be falsely accused of something, and "Not fair!" feelings are particularly well-developed in teenagers, but when high school junior Devon is accused, it isn't just his girl friend accusing him of cheating on her... which she did... and he didn't. No, it's much more than that. He's not only accused of beating and stabbing someone, he's convicted and sent to juvie.

He goes from being a popular
J.Q. Rose
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In C. Lee McKenzie’s latest YA novel, Not Guilty, high school basketball star, Devon Carlyle, is a good responsible student planning on attending college, and member of a loving family. This does not describe a young man who would assault a man on the beach with a knife. I thought this was a bit far-fetched for him to be guilty of such a crime. But when all the evidence was presented backed up by an eyewitness, Devon Carlyle was sentenced to 4 months in juvenile detention. Ms. Mckenzie allows re ...more
Lynda Young
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Life is exactly as Devon envisioned it with all his plans on track. He has the perfect girlfriend (according to him), the championship and a scholarship. In a blink of an eye, it all falls to pieces when he is accused of assault with a deadly weapon.

The main character has a good energy to him, though I wasn’t sure why he liked his girlfriend so much. I felt for him when nobody believed his innocence. He was tossed about in a turmoil of being wrongly accused and then injustice after injustice pil
Bish Denham
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Devon's got it all: the perfect girlfriend, the possibility of a collage basketball scholarship, a caring family, friends. But when he's accused of deadly assault, his whole world is suddenly turned up-side-down and he finds himself in Juvenile Hall, the "good" kid thrown in with a bunch of "bad" kids. Being locked up in an alien environment is scary enough, but when he realizes the profound affect the accusation has on his family, Devon is not only riddled with guilt, he becomes determined to p ...more
Patricia Stoltey
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s not easy for a writer to tell a story without sounding preachy when there are numerous lessons to be learned from the characters and events. C. Lee McKenzie pulls it off beautifully in the young adult novel, Not Guilty. Dialogue and narrative keep the reader in the story without a moment’s pause, and yet the reader comes away with powerful conclusions about the nature of true friendship, the rewards that come with honesty and integrity, the need from time to time to stand up for oneself…or ...more
Diane Burton
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story about a young man falsely accused of a crime disturbed me. The author made the situation in juvie so real I had to put down the book. But the story was so well written I had to find out what happened to Devon. My persistence was rewarded. As the story unfolded, the characters became real to me. The situations Devon and his family encountered were equally realistic. Devon's obsession with discovering the true culprit "forced" me to keep reading. I had to know if he would be successful. ...more
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
NOT GUILTY by C. Lee Mckenzie (Evernight Teen, 2019) is a compelling suspense novel for teens of both genders. It is also accessible and appropriate for middle grade readers. There is no violence on-stage, and no sex, or gratuitous profanity.

Devon, 17, is accused and found guilty of a serious crime. He insists he is not guilty. Although in the second half of the book Devon attempts to find the real perpetrator of the crime, what I found most compelling was the account of what happened to Devon
Jasmine Haynes
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
All Devon wants is to find his girlfriend and reconcile with her after a big misunderstanding. What he doesn’t realize is that in his search, he’s stumbled into a crime scene and he will later be accused of a violent assault. But he’s not guilty so of course he’s never going to end up in juvie for a crime he didn’t commit. Right? Wrong. He’s found guilty, and now he has to prove to the police, to his friends, his classmates, his girlfriend, and the whole town that he didn’t do it. Devon’s story ...more
Kai Strand
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
Devon is falsely accused and convicted of a crime. He spends time in juvenile detention for it. Loses his chance at a basketball scholarship. Loses his girlfriend and his friends. But he ends up making new ones who he discovers are really there for him through thick and thin, not just during the good times. He’s determined to prove his innocence, but his probation officer and school stand in his way.

This is a really interesting story. I was completely invested in Devon from the beginning. His a
Lynda Dietz
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I picked up Not Guilty, I never expected that I wouldn't be able to put it down until the end of the book. There was just no "good" place to stop for the night, because the story just kept me engaged and wanting to know more.

I won't give a summary of the book, because you can read the description for yourself, but what I will say is that this author knows how to tap into the minds of young adults. The thoughts, the actions, the loyalties (or lack of them) and the everyday struggles are capt
Cathrina Constantine
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
C. Lee McKenzie knows how to get into teenagers heads. Not Guilty is full of teeth gritting angst not only for the main character, but for the reader as well as we hope Devon can beat this false charge. Devon is on top of the world. He had it all. Looking forward to that basketball college scholarship, he had the girl of his dreams, and he was popular. Then he’s accused of a crime he didn’t commit, but can he prove it? No. And his temper is always getting the better of him. He’s sent to a juveni ...more
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
A bloody knife with his prints. Wrong place, wrong time, and fits the description. Just like that, Devon's future is over. How can he prove he's not guilty?

Intense emotion and connections grab you from the beginning. One fateful day everything changes for Devon -- the star of the basketball team about to snag a full scholarship to the college of his choice. And it all happens so fast, accused, tried, and convicted of stabbing one of his arch enemies. But he didn't do it, and no one will listen.

Yolanda Renee
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A young man’s temper gets the best of him and before he can figure out what’s happening, he’s accused of assault, judged, and sent to juvenile hall in C. Lee McKenzie’s latest YA novel. Not Guilty is compelling reading.

Devon Carlyle is a likable young man, but he has a temper. He’s not shy about standing up to those who bully him, but the problem is that when the dust settles, he’s the one who looks like the aggressor, and his reaction does not garner trust.

His attitude adjustment does not come
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In my other life--the one before I began writing for teens and younger readers--I was a teacher and administrator at California State University, San Jose. My field of Linguistics and Inter-cultural Communicat

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