Sadie is a responsible, basketball-playing, job-holding high school junior. She has a boyfriend, and loves spending time with her three year old niece. Her life is torn apart, however, when she gives two men a ride to a convenience store- and gets arrested for dealing pot.
In order to keep her older sister out of jail, and her niece out of foster care, Sadie pleads guilty to the charges despite her innocence. She gets sent to a juvenile detention center for six months, where she meets other minors accused and convicted of serious crimes.
Sadie is angry at her sister, angry at the judge, angry at her boyfriend, and angry at herself. It will take all of her willpower and strength to remain true to herself, and loyal to her family, during her time in juvie.
Juvie is definitely not an uplifting, feel-good book. Rather, it is a dark story that works to define the differences between "innocent" and "guilty."
The main character, seventeen year old Sadie, is incredibly likeable and immediately draws the reader's sympathy. Her self-sacrificing nature and love for her family make her a perfect character to root for. The unfairness of her situation is described so well that, by the end of the book, I was ready to storm down to the courthouse and tell the judge exactly what I thought of his judging skills.
The characters introduced were never boring- from the recluse, hoarder father to the middle schooler who beat a boy over the head with a pipe to steal his bicycle, each kept the plot entertaining and unique. In addition to being interesting characters,the various delinquents in the detention center provided a bit of morbid comic relief.
Juvie is well-written and the plot is captivating, if not necessarily cheerful. I would recommend the book to teens and young adults who enjoy realistic fiction.