Walker & Company
Ryan G. Van Cleave
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 more than anything-the date circled on Blake's calendar. Does Blake have something planned? Something that Andy can prevent?
In a fascinating look at how teens deal with the now constant threat of school violence, debut author Ryan G. Van Cleave provides a unique, emotional perspective on how it feels to be the one who can prevent a tragedy.
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Verse novels often tackle tough subjects in an affecting way and this book is no exception. This book centres on Andy, a janitor’s son and an outcast at his school. Andy is at the mercy of Aaron and other bully jocks as are the other ‘losers’ at the school, Nicholas and Blake. Andy secretly lusts after Becky Ann who barely acknowledges his existence. Rumours surround Blake and the existence of a gun in his locker. Under the mistaken impression that he will become popular with Becky Ann, Andy breaks into Blake’s locker but there is no gun. Soon after this an unlikely friendship develops between Andy and Blake…one that involves a gun and a date blacked out on the calendar.
Unlocked is a powerful novel in verse which is quick and easy to read. It covers the issues of bullying and violence in high schools and the fragility of friendship. That two outcasts bond over a gun is a frightening concept but one which is explored in a raw and honest way by the author. A real page turner!
Stephen, Canberra, Australia