Review Blog

Jun 28 2011

Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave

cover image

Walker, 2011. ISBN 9780802723550.
I admit that I am not fond of novels written in verse. However Unlocked has helped me overcome this dislike. The book deals with a number of important issues, such as friendship and should all secrets be kept regardless of the consequences.
Andy is a loner with problems of his own, not the least being that he is the son of the school's cleaner and caretaker. He meets another boy who is a loner like himself and they begin to be friends. The friendship starts when Andy volunteers to find out if the rumour that Blake has a gun in his locker is true. He does this as he hopes to impress Becky Ann and become friends with her.
Usually the problem I have with novels written in verse is that the characters are not developed and it is hard to have any empathy with them. In Unlocked the author avoids this and as the story progresses you begin to have an insight into Andy and why he is like he is and why Blake has the gun in his locker. Even while not approving of his actions you can have some sympathy with what has caused him to get to the point he does. At the end I realized that I had enjoyed the book. It was easy to read, provided insight into the characters and their problems and ended convincingly.
It could easily be used as a basis for discussion in middle school.
David Rayner

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