UNLOCKED by Ryan G. Van Cleave (Walker, March 2011) is novel in verse about Andy and Blake. Andy is the janitor's son. As such, he is the target of some rather mean teasing. He is an outcast. So is Blake who is rumored to have a gun in his locker. Andy steals his father's keys, but there is no gun in Blake's locker. However, the two boys do become friends of sorts. It is then Andy learns that Blake does indeed have a gun and that he knows how to use it. What should Andy do? Should he lose his only friend by ratting him out? Ot should he keep Blake's secret? <12>
I find novels in verse about dark subject matter particularly intriguing. Ellen Hopkins and Eirann Corrigan both tackle difficult subject matter via this rather lyrical form. Somehow, it makes the telling more intense. Given the recent shooting in Arizona, I wonder how many teens will be seeking stories about guns and violence. Tie this one to Nancy Garden's ENDGAME and GIVE A BOY A GUN by Todd Strasser and WHALE TALK by Chris Crutcher.