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Lockdown Hardcover – February 2, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Myers takes readers inside the walls of a juvenile corrections facility in this gritty novel. Fourteen-year-old Reese is in the second year of his sentence for stealing prescription pads and selling them to a neighborhood dealer. He fears that his life is headed in a direction that will inevitably lead him “upstate,” to the kind of prison you don’t leave. His determination to claw his way out of the downward spiral is tested when he stands up to defend a weaker boy, and the resulting recriminations only seem to reinforce the impossibility of escaping a hopeless future. Reese’s first-person narration rings with authenticity as he confronts the limits of his ability to describe his feelings, struggling to maintain faith in himself; Myers’ storytelling skills ensure that the messages he offers are never heavy-handed. The question of how to escape the cycle of violence and crime plaguing inner-city youth is treated with a resolution that suggests hope, but doesn’t guarantee it. A thoughtful book that could resonate with teens on a dangerous path. Grades 7-10. --Ian Chipman


“A moving tale of a kid who may have made a mistake but who still deserves the modest future he seeks. Refreshingly avoids cliché.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review))

“Masterful.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Myers creates a nuanced, realistic portrait of a teen dealing with incarceration and violence. Myers gets his voice just right.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))

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Product Details

  • Series: AWARDS: ALA: Youth Media Award Winners 2011
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad; 1 edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061214809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061214806
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #570,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Walter Dean Myers is a New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author who has garnered much respect and admiration for his fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for young people. Winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award, he is considered one of the preeminent writers for children. He lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, with his family.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By YAHighway on May 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Lockdown, the newest release from Printz award-winning author Walter Dean Myers, couldn't have come at a better time. Burned out from a succession of novels that each read much like the one before it, lacking voice and pizazz, Lockdown provided a much needed - and much appreciated - change. This journey into the life of a boy who made a mistake and pays for it over and over again is both beautiful and sorrowful.

Reese is a boy you've known: someone who tries his best to stay out of trouble when the story of his life is trouble. A big brother in and out of prison, an addict mom, a microcosm society of hopelessness, this is what Reese grows up with and when that fateful day comes that he makes his own mistake and is sent to juvie, no one's going to let him forget where he comes from - and what little he has to look forward to.

Reese has all kinds of obstacles to navigate at the Progress Center: physical violence, authority figures who alternately beat him down and maintain unrealistic high expectations of him, a crusty old racist in the retirement home he volunteers at, uncertainty about his future when he gets out. But Reese, despite his mistake, is self-aware and concerned for others. But even that gets him into trouble. How do you rescue a smaller kid from getting jumped when one more fight cancels out your early-release?

I was struck and saddened by the way the disciplinary system in Lockdown worked to damage Reese's character rather than heal it because it was so truthfully portrayed. Even so, Reese shines in his interactions with his sister, Icy, and I found myself hoping against fate that good things would happen for him. His optimism under pressure was inspiring.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen B. Mcdade on December 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I had never read anything by Walter Dean Myers before, despite his award-winning status, so I really had no idea what to expect from Lockdown.

This book took me into another world, but not a fantasy, sci-fi, or dystopian post-apocalyptic world. It's the world of a juvenile detention center, and a world where violence, drug use and drug-dealing are common. And yes, it is also a world of mostly non-white people.

The blurb says "Lockdown explores an unlikely friendship between fourteen-year-old Progress inmate Reese and a man he meets through his work program at a local senior citizens' home. " However, this is only part of the story. Myers shows us the violence inside the detention center, the cluelessness, cynicism, and cruelty of several adults there, and the cycle that keeps so many detainees coming back into the prison system.

Reese matures in this book, but at a reasonable pace. He starts figuring out what he needs to do to stay straight on the outside, but he doesn't have it all together by the end of the book. And he makes plenty of mistakes throughout.

Interestingly, the adults in the book grow, too. Mr. Hooft at the senior citizens' home at first fears Reese, because he is African American and an inmate, but learns to accept him and perhaps call him friend. Mr. Pugh, a guard, is a bully at first, but becomes friendlier later. And other adults who seem to think there's no hope for Reese begin to come around, too. I think this adds a lot to the book.

Lockdown is rich with detail and action. When I finished reading it, I actually went straight back to the beginning and read the first few chapters over again, because I felt like I hadn't gotten everything out of them the first time. If I didn't have several more books to read, I might have read it straight through again!

I think this book might be a keeper -- I'd like to read it again and get to know it better. Definitely award-worthy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Jensen (STACKED Books blog) on June 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Reese is living in Promises -- a juvenile detention facility -- for committing the crime of stealing prescription pads from doctors and aided in the acquisition of drug deals. Since he's been a good inmate, he's given the opportunity to take a part-time job at Evergreen, which is a home for the elderly. The job is a privilege and gives him both freedom from his place in jail, and it is meant to teach him responsibility, obedience, and respect for himself and others. It is here he meets Mr. Hooft, an elderly gentleman who has a tremendous impact on Reese's beliefs about who he is and who he can become.

Of course, it's not that simple. About half way through the story, there is a big bomb dropped upon Reese, who has been getting himself in trouble trying to defend some of his buddies. When this arises, it is Reese who must decide what is important to him and how he can get himself out of Promises into a fulfilling life for himself and Icy -- the sister he adores.

Lockdown was exceptionally well written, and the character development kept me wanting more. Although this won't rank as one of my favorite reads, primarily because it focused on a topic I'm unfamiliar with and don't typically seek out, this is a book that has definite appeal to many audiences.

One of the real challenges I had was with the secondary characters: I could not distinguish among the various juvenile inmates nor the adults in Reese's life. I found that Reese himself was very well developed, and his sister Icy had a unique and memorable voice. Likewise, Mr. Hooft kept me coming back as a reader, as I felt the story he told Reese about his time in and immediately after the Vietnam War drew great parallels to Reese's own challenges with keeping on the right side of the law.
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