I received this book for free from Walker Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Friendship, General, Young Adult
Source: Walker Books
Review: I was lucky enough to be invited to Walker Books blogger brunch last November and had a wonderful time chatting with bloggers and publishing people, eating yummy food and hearing all about the upcoming books from Walker. One of them immediately caught my attention with its striking cover and compelling concept: Juvie.
Described alongside Orange Is The New Black comparisons, Juvie tells the story of Sadie who is accidentally caught up in a drug deal. To keep her sister out of jail, and niece out of care, Sadie confesses despite being innocent. What was meant to just be a slap on the wrist turns into a six month sentence and when we meet Sadie she’s just about to start this.
Juvie surprised me as I read it. It is far more about Sadie’s own journey and growth than action. The structure is divided between past (what led to juvie) and present time serving her sentence. With the flashbacks I loved seeing more of Sadie’s family, something that could have easily not featured in a novel set away from home, and in particular her relationship with Lulu, her adorable niece. I did find Sadie’s relationship with her sister Carla frustrating as Carla was a difficult character to sympathise with at times and I really wanted her to step up more for both her daughter and her sister.
Sadie was a strong narrator and I thought the moments where she discovered more about her fellow inmates and the way first impression and innocent expressions can actually be deceiving. The only criticism of the fellow inmates was that not all of them stood out to me and a few felt quite cliched.
There were some great tense moments in the final third of the novel I won’t spoil and I found the whole book very readable and compelling. I read it in just over one sitting and wanted to find out what would happen to Sadie. The ending was also quite open and while I often like this openness and making my own conclusions, I wanted something a little more cement personally.
Overall, Juvie is an interesting and character focused story with an unglamorised look at the justice system, and a novel that I think would appeal to fans of Orange is the New Black and similar programmes.