The Juvie Three

The Juvie Three
y Gordon Korman

Publishing Information: Hyperion Books for Children: New York, 2008
ISBN: 9781423101581
Pages: 249 p.
Ages: 12 & Up

Crime landed them in jail, but their luck changes when Mr. Healy selects them to serve their sentences in his halfway house. Then he is injured, everything changes.

Gecko, Arjay, and Terence, alldoing time, get a second chance when Mr. Healy selects them to serve the rest of their sentences in his halfway house. Then Mr. Healy is accidentally injured and suddenly everything is at risk. The boys form a plan; will it work or have they run out of second chances?

Book Talk:
#1 - 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 at life in the form of Douglas Healy. A former juvenile delinquent himself, Healy 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. But when Healy awakes, 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. They will go to school, do their community service, attend therapy, and act like model citizens until Healy's memory returns and he can resume his place with them.  
But life keeps getting in the when Gecko finds romance. Or Arjay gets famous.Or Terence starts reverting to his old ways. If the boys are discovered, their second chance will be their last.

#2 - The boys in Juvie Three were strangers, serving sentences for different crimes at different facilities, until selected by Mr. Healy for his newly created halfway house. They arrive in New York City and quickly settle into a routine: school, community service, and group therapy, while living together in an apartment. But not everything goes smoothly. A neighbor, their social worker, and others, are suspicious of the boys and opposed to Mr. Healy’s plan. And one of the Juvie Three is determined to resume his life of crime. When Mr. Healy is accidentally injured, resulting in amnesia, suddenly all is in jeopardy. Faced with this crisis, the boys come up with a plan. Will it work, or have they run out of second chances? 

Subject Headings & Major Themes:

Group Homes
Juvenile Delinquents
Juvenile Detention
Second Chances

Awards & Reviews:
Indiana Eliot Rosewater Award Nominee, 2012
Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award Nominee, 2011
Missouri Gateway Readers Award Nominee, 2011
Nebraska Golden Sower Award Nominee, 2012
Oklahoma Sequoyah Award Nominee, 2011
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award Nominee, 2010
South Carolina Junior Book award Nominee, 2011
Texas Tayshas Reading List, 2011

Booklist, November 15, 2008 (Starred Review)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October 1, 2008
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2008
KLIATT, September 1, 2008 (Starred Review)
Library Media Connection, January 1, 2009
School Library Journal, December 1, 2008

Discussion Questions and Ideas:

  1. Was Arjay’s sentence fair?
    Terence has difficulty reading and writing. Could this be a learning difference (aka learning disability)? Identify five famous people who have overcome this challenge.
  2. “Welcome to the new normal” is a phrase used by Arjay in chapter sixteen. How does that describe their situation and his attitude?
  3. Terence talks about “dogs” and “crew” and how important they are. What does he mean by this, and how does it relate to the story? Does his view change over time?
  4. How would you describe the main characters? Have their experiences brought about changes?
  5. What impact did family have on each of the boys’ lives? Were there any positive role models?
  6. What were the community service projects the boys were involved in? What types of programs exist in your community? Is there a volunteer project that could benefit your community? Describe a volunteer experience you had, or one that would appeal to you.
  7. The genre of this story is realistic fiction. What was realistic about the story? Was any aspect unrealistic?
  8. Terence responds to some situations with humor. Provide two examples.
  9. What song does Arjay play over and over while in prison? What instrument does he play, and why do you think this song appeals to him?
  10. How did social class and stereotypes impact Gecko’s relationships with Roxanne and Diego? Describe a situation where first impressions were true or false.
  11. Arjay and Diego were bullied at school. What could someone in their situation do to make it stop? If you witness bullying, what are some steps you could take to prevent the bullying? Is bullying a problem for students at your school? Do you feel you can seek help from someone in the school?
  12. Did Gecko’s and Terence’s views of their crimes change, and if so, how?
  13. Was Mr. Healy’s program successful in its goal of rehabilitation?
  14. Would the story be different if the main characters were girls? Why or why not?
  15. Were you satisfied with the ending? Would you read a sequel?
  16. During a science lab, Gecko offers to go for mothballs. What is the scientific term for this item?
  17. In group therapy, the boys were with three other teens. What were their offenses? Do you think their punishment fit their crimes?
  18. A major theme in the book is second chances. Do the boys deserve a second chance?
  19. Are gangs a problem in your school or community? Do gangs, crime and violence go hand in hand?
  20. Research one or more of the following: amnesia, learning differences (aka learning disabilities), community service; juvenile crime and rehabilitation. Note: Databases such as Encyclopedia Britannica Online and WorldBook Online are available via RILINK and your public library’s website.

Related Websites:
Author's Website -
Coalition for Juvenile Justice -
Frontline: Juvenile Justice -
National Center for Juvenile Justice -
National Criminal Justice Reference Center: Juvenile Justice -
Rhode Island Family Court -
Rhode Island Kids Count: Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative -
Rhode Island Public Safety Grant Administration Office: Juvenile Detention Statistics -
Rhode Island Public Safety Grant Administration Office: Juvenile Justice -

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Other Books by the Author:
This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall, 1978
Go Jump in the Pool!, 1979
Beware the Fish!, 1980
Who Is Bugs Potter?, 1980
I Want to Go Home, 2008
Bugs Potter LIVE at Nickaninny, 1983
No Coins, Please, 1984
Don't Car High, 1985
Son of the Interflux, 1986
A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag, 1987
Zucchini Warriors, 1988
Radio 5th Grade, 1989
Losing Joe's Place, 1990
I Want to Go Home, 1991
Macdonald Hall Goes Hollywood
The Twinkie Squad, 1992
The Toilet Paper Tigers, 1993
Why Did the Underwear Cross the Road, 1994
Something Fishy at Macdonald Hall, 1995
The Chicken Doesn't Skate, 1996
HeavyArtillery: I Was Junior Seau, 1996
Liar, Liar Pants on Fire, 1997
Quarterback Exchange: I Was John Elway, 1997
Running Back Conversion: I was Barry Sanders, 1997
Superbowl Switch: I Was Dan Marino, 1997
The Sixth Grade Nickname Game, 1998
Ultimate Scoring Machine: I Was Jerry Rise, 1998
All-Mars All-Stars, 1999
Nose Pickers from Outer Space, 1999
The Stars from Mars, 1999
Cup Crazy, 2000
The Face-Off Phony, 2000
No More Dead Dogs, 2000 (2002 RITBA Nominee)
Planet of the Nose Pickers, 2000
Your Mummy Is a Nose Picker, 2000
Survival, 2001
Shipwreck, 2001
Escape, 2001
Invasion of the Nose Pickers, 2001
The Contest, 2001
The Climb, 2001
The Summit, 2001
Son of the Mob, 2002 (2004 RITBA Nominee)
The Discover, 2003
The Deep, 2003
The Danger, 2003
Jake, Reinvented, 2003
Max Comedy: The Funniest Kid in America, 2003
Son of the Mob: Hollywood Hustle, 2003
Born To Rock, 2005
Chasing Falconers, 2005
The Fugitive Factor, 2005
Now You See Them, Now You Don't, 2005
Public Enemies, 2005
Swindle, 2008
39 Clues: One False Note, 2009
Pop, 2009
Zoobreak, 2009
39 Clues: The Emperor’s Code, 2010

About the Author:
Gordon Korman was born October 23, 1963 in Montreal, Quebec in Canada. He wrote his first book, This Can't be Happening at Macdonald Hall when he was 12 years old for a coach who suddenly found himself teaching 7th grade English … he later took that episode and created a book out of it, as well, in the Sixth Grade Nickname Game, where Mr. Huge was based on that 7th grade teacher.

His first book found a home with Scholastic, who also published his next 20 or so books, including six more Bruno and Boots titles, and several award winning young adult titles.  Scholastic still publishes many of Gordon's titles, though Hyperion Press is also now printing some of Gordon's stories.

Gordon eventually made one of his homes in New York City, where he studied film and film writing. While in New York, he also met his future wife, and they eventually married -- they now have three children. He now lives on Long Island, outside of New York City, has approximately 55 books to his credit, and is currently contracted for several more, including the six volume On the Run adventure series, and new young adult and children’s' titles.