Having never been in contact with the Department of Corrections any where except on the TV screen, I have no idea how accurate this is. I'm sure Myers did all his research, and he apparently works with the DoC now and then. It's just, it seems like such a fairy tale. Yes, I know people do make it through juvie and manage to get it together on the other side. But this doesn't seem like what would actually happen.
Reese meets some old guy who shares stories with him and comes to trust him and then dies, and this makes him reform? Really? I really like happily-ever-after stories, but this just doesn't jive for me. Not even with the reminder that it doesn't work for everyone, when the narrator follows up with some of the other inmates and reminds the reader that some of them are just getting in deeper. Sorry, nice story, but not quite believable.
When I first got to Progress, it freaked me out to be locked in a room and unable to get out. But after a while, when you got to thinking about it, you knew nobody could get in, either.
It seems as if the only progress that's going on at Progress juvenile facility is moving from juvy jail to real jail. Reese wants out early, but is he supposed to just sit back and let his friend Toon get jumped? Then Reese gets a second chance when he's picked for the work program at a senior citizens' home. He doesn't mean to keep messing up, but it's not so easy, at Progress or in life. One of the residents, Mr. Hooft, gives him a particularly hard time. If he can convince Mr. Hooft that he's a decent person, not a criminal, maybe he'll be able to convince himself.
Acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers offers an honest story about finding a way to make it without getting lost in the shuffle.