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3.37  ·  Rating details ·  535 ratings  ·  118 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, 170 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Walker Childrens
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Average rating 3.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  535 ratings  ·  118 reviews

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Nov 28, 2011 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
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I expected a little more from this book. I liked the formatting, but I thought it would be longer. I mean, I finished it in less than an hour. Also, it was very predictive, but I still remained engrossed in it. I probably wouldn't read it again, and I wouldn't really recommend it. But, the plot was somewhat interesting. One word for this book: Okay...
Milli (MiracleMilliReads)
I never though this would be a script book about a potential school shooting. This book was fast paced and very interesting. I love how we entered the mind of a depressing, lonely, and bullied teen. I think everyone who has been bullied can relate to these thoughts that are racing through Blake's head.

Andy, the school janitors son, was bullied and wanted to impress the girl he liked. There was rumor going around that Blake had a gun in locker. Andy steals his fathers master key and takes a look
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.

Cait S
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
The beginning didn't impress me but I was pulled in somewhere along the way. The verse felt unnecessary. Another YA

Written like this
Not real poems
Just sentences
Rhiannon Nichol
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
I gave Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave a 2/5. I didn’t really enjoy this book all that much. I don’t think it was anything the author did or didn’t do, just that I didn’t like the story. I gave it a 2 out of 5 because I did like the author’s writing style just not what he was writing about.
Natalie Cox
Oct 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I was a good book but it was to short and kind of boring at first.
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: male, novel-in-verse
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mrs. Fisher
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
(TOLD IN VERSE) 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 loners, Blake shares most of his secrets with Andy, including the gun. But there's one secret that worries Andy mo ...more
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Picked this up because I wanted something quick to read. The subject caught my eye. Typically I'm not into verse style writing but I didn't mind it at all.

Shooting and retelling of shootings scare me. I thought this would be a bit different, but it was still good. Made me anxious with how long it took for action to happen. I've never been one to dilly dally with the rules.


Good quick read.
Ginger Woods
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Books written in verse, I actually really enjoy them. I know they lack some detail, but I like the quick & entertaining reads.

Unlocked is about one outcast befriending another outcast that is rumored to have a gun.

I enjoy morbid stories, like stories about school shootings, and this didn't disappoint.

If you are a fan of verse, and want a quick read, that is entertaining & makes you worry what's going to happen at the end, read this. :)
Taylor Hakimi
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Literally nothing happened. Nothing, it could have had so much potential but it was all so predictable. You would think that a book that has less than 30 words per page would be good. I kept forgetting the main character was only 14 and a freshman, the story never really made him clear to any age except high school. There were so many irrelevant "chapters". Well, at least I could finish reading it.
Pernia Hassan
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a great quick pick for reluctant readers.

Andy’s father is the school custodian and he is teased and bullied mercilessly. He befriends a boy named Blake and they spend a lot to time firing Blake’s gun. Blake says strange things and has adage in March blacked out on his calendar in his locker. Andy is suspicious but will he tell on his friend?
Apr 14, 2020 rated it liked it
This is the first time I've read a book in verse formatting. Not too fond of it, but I got used to it after a while. It was a quick read and very well done especially about how Andy's thoughts and feelings were written. But I really wish the story would develop more, it was too short to say the least.

Overall, the story was just ok👌
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
I checked this book out from the library in a win. I'm, so glad I did. This book is written in verse so it is very short. Even though it is short it is an amazing book. It offers so good lesions on the affects of bulling and when to keep a secret for a friend. I will defiantly be reading it again.
Ashley Long
Jun 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting story and has a few really powerful verses. This book did not sway me emotionally as much as I thought it should have given the subject matter. However, it’s a quick read and free verse is flying off my shelves right now, so worth book talking.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
VERY quick read (finished in about 2 hours). Has some great lessons and ideas scattered around. Cool format, as the novel was written in verse. The book was almost too quick, and many things went a bit too fast. This novel is about a school shooter, so only read if you enjoy morbid stories.
Beautifully Broken
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
I absolutely loved this. Very shocking and honest and...heart-wrenching. A recommended read no doubt. An amazing novel written in a poetry-type style with realistic characters and a plot that is unfortunately much too real.
Jenifer Dugdale
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Could be interesting for a high school student to read. Told in poetry form. Lessons about how we treat each other, what it means to be a friend, how hard it can be to take responsible action.
Apr 06, 2018 rated it liked it
i think the book was alright
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Quick and easy read with a great story.
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it
12+. Mature discussion in some parts of the book (& swearing) but no action. Somewhat childish with a darker twist. ...more
Feb 08, 2017 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
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 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
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
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 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
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