I’m getting ready to dive into a month long revision on my memoir, KIDS IN ORANGE: VOICES FROM JUVENILE DETENTION. I worked on this story for six months last year in a post-graduate semester at Vermont College.
It’s a big story with a lot of parts to it, and takes a big committment to jump back in again. But after attending the AWP Conference and sitting in on some memoir workshops and panels, I was inspired to commit to another draft of this story.
During March, I’m also participating in SPEEDBO which is basically NANOWRIMO in March. However, one of the differences is that not only can you fast draft, but you can also commit to editing a novel in a month. I went for that option with KIDS IN ORANGE.
If you want to find out more about SPEEDBO, it’s here:
Before I start revisions, I like to do some library browsing. One of the books which popped on my radar as I was browsing the Snohomish library shelves was JUVIE by Steve Watkins (Candlewick, 2013).
I’m always a little hesitant to recommend juvie YA books because so often the characters end up stereotypical and the detention center is portrayed as an evil, nasty place.
Thankfully, this was NOT the case in JUVIE. The main character, Sadie, is a good kid who gets caught in the wrong place and wrong time and finds herself involved in a crime. The story is told in alternating chapters between Sadie’s experience in detention and her experience with the crime. One of my favorite parts of the story are the other girls on the unit. Anyone who has worked with girls in detention or spent time in detention themselves, will recognize these girls on the unit. There is the young lady who cries herself to sleep every night. There are the two gang leaders and their quest for dominance–including kicking “sporks” under tables. My favorite line in the book is when the unit guard tells the girls, “Grab some floor.”
If you’re looking for a great YA juvie book to read or recommend to teens, this is one!