Gecko Fosse drove the getaway car. Terence Florian ran with the worst gang in Chicago. Arjay Moran killed someone.
All three boys are serving time in juvenile detention centers until they get a second chance. Douglas Healy, a former juvenile delinquent himself, is running an experimental halfway house in New York City, where he wants to make a difference in the lives of kids like Gecko, Terence, and Arjay.
Things are going well until one night Healy is accidentally knocked unconscious while trying to break up a scuffle among the boys. Terrified of the consequences, they drop him off at a hospital and run away. When Healy wakes up, he has no memory of them or the halfway house. Afraid of being sent back to Juvie, the guys hatch a crazy scheme to continue on as if the group leader never left.
But if the boys are discovered, their second chance will be their last. . .
When Douglas Healy, a former juvenile delinquent, sets up a program that allows three troubled teens to get out of juvie and into a halfway house, things don’t go quite as he expects. The three boys, Gecko Fosse, Terrance Florian, and Arjay Moran, are given the chance of a lifetime. But one wrong move and they’ll end up back in juvie for good. While Gecko and Arjay aren’t in a rush to get back behind bars anytime soon, Terrance just wants out of this program and back onto the streets.
There was a great little group of characters in this book that I enjoyed. Aside from Mr. Healy and the boys, you had the nosey, elderly neighbor who is suspicious of the boys at first, the girl that Gecko crushes on but her rich dad doesn’t want him around her, the other kids in group therapy, and the mean social worker who’s basically out to shut down this program of Healy’s. My favorites were obviously the boys. Yes, they were criminals, but in Gecko’s case he was just his brother’s lackey, Arjay was only acting in self-defense (not that the court saw it that way), and Terrance is just misguided.
The differences between these boys called for clashing right upon them meeting, and even throughout most of the book they argue. Terrance is mainly the problematic one, since he just wants to find a street crew to run with and get back to the gang life he tried to have before. So at times I found him annoying because he wasn’t appreciative of this amazing opportunity, but he does end up having common sense hit him dead in the face eventually. Gecko and Arjay on the other hand, were total sweethearts that honestly just had bad luck throw them into juvie (though it was Gecko’s choice to follow along his brother’s schemes).
Overall this is a very easy read that keeps you interested. I would say this is a book that could be read in a day, easily, and the only reason I didn’t finish it the night I started it was because my kitten kept attacking me while I was reading. This was my second book that I’ve read by Gordon Korman and he is becoming one of my favorite middle-grade authors. I highly recommend this book, especially if you’ve read some of his books before.
Rating: 4.75 stars