Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave

Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave
Publisher: Walker Children
Length176 pages
Genera: Contemporary
Subjects: Guns, High School, Verse
How I obtained the bookLibrary; paperback

Rating: 

How embarrassing is it to be the janitor’s kid?
Andy’s dad is the janitor and because of that, he’s a no body, an outcast along with three other people he doesn’t want to talk with: Sue, Blake, and Nicholas.People from Blake’s old middle school say Blake used to be popular, back in middle school, then something happened. They say he could blast a soccer ball straight over the south wing of the school; could zing a spit ball faster than you could see; and more.But everyone agrees, everyone suspects, that in his locker, Blake is hiding a gun.

Andy and Blake soon enough become friends, but no one knows that they share a secret. The gun had brought them together.


Not everyone likes books written in verse. I happen to enjoy them a lot. Verse can tell you more at times than normal prose. This book was less lyrical than other books in verse, but the main character’s pain is apparent through the prose that was more palpable than it would be if it was written differently.

At times, I sympathized with Andy but within a couple pages, I felt like screaming at him for being so dense. The situation he was in was very dangerous, and at times I couldn’t understand his actions. Andy’s internal struggle between friendship and doing the right thing were interesting to read.

Most of the secondary characters were exasperating and annoying. I often felt like I wanted to put the book down but Andy and Blake kept it going. The father, and characters like Nick, felt distant and unpleasant. They were all very irritating.

The plot was very odd, as if it only had the beginning and the end. It was a very short book, which explained a lot. It should have been drawn out much more than it was. Cleave rushed through the book to get to the end, and the ending was much less impacting than it should have been.

I would recommend it to someone looking for something different from the popular books. I might read it again, mostly because it’s a quick read.

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