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Something Like Hope by Shawn Goodman

Something Like Hope

by Shawn Goodman

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Something Like Hope is one of those books that takes away your breath and shocks you. At times this book was disturbing especially when you start thinking about how this happens in real life. It's definitely a book that needs to read by more people so they can become more aware. ( )
  mamelotti | Apr 24, 2015 |
Seventeen year old Shavonne is in a juvenile detention facility. Teens wind up incarcerated from reasons ranging to serious crimes they've committed to serious crimes committed against them. Many have been raped in foster homes, which have led them to lives of crime. Their problems continue when they're placed in juvenile detention centers because many are understaffed and filled with mean and uncaring guards. This is what Shavonne faces, and as she recounts her story, readers feel their hearts break at what thousands of teens face every day across the United States. Read and be educated. ( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Sep 26, 2014 |
This story is both brutally honest, and hopeful. Shawn Goodman wrote this poignant novel in response to his experiences working in juvenile detention facilities. Unfortunately, many people across the country have had experiences like Shawn. This is why it's so very important for people to know about Something Like Hope. I hope that many readers (teens, parents, educators, etc) will read this novel. Recommended for grades 6 and up. ( )
  mcoleman73 | Nov 6, 2011 |
by Jill Swenson

Reading the essays of Amy Tan in The Opposite of Fate makes me ponder what its inverse might be: perhaps it is hope.

Young adult fiction is not a genre I generally seek out, given my lack of interest in vampires or teen romance. But Ithaca author, Shawn Goodman, wrote the winner of the 2009 Delacorte Press Prize for a First Young Adult Novel and I wanted to see why.

Something like Hope (Delacorte Press/Random House) is not what I expected of teen fiction. It’s a haunting story of Shavonne, who has been in “juvie” all her teenage years. Based on Shawn Goodman’s own experiences working within New York State juvenile detention facilities, it’s a coming of age story that breaks your heart open to the possibility of hope for someone who has had the cards stacked against her. The antics of abusive guards and careless counselors give the reader an unflinchingly honest and realistic look inside these institutions which beg for juvenile justice reform.

It’s the voice of Shavonne, though, that makes this a captivating story. Angry and confused by what has happened to her, Shavonne lashes out in violence against those who come close to her secrets. As her 18th birthday approaches with imminent release into a harsh world, she begins to open up to a sad-eyed middle-aged white male counselor. He lets her come to terms with giving birth to a baby delivered straight into the system and her own crackhead mother who deserted her. He lets her see it isn’t her fault; but what comes next for her will be of her own choosing. He lets her discover these things herself.

The connections between her low self-esteem and self-destructive path lead her to the weight of guilt from the secret she keeps. The guilt she has carried for the role she played in her brother’s childhood accident builds like emotional thunderclouds. Letting go of the blame and shame for not being a mother to her brother, or a mother to her own infant, is only possible when she begins to recognize she has been a motherless child. Only now is she becoming an adult and will be responsible for her own self from now on and Shavonne discovers something like hope. ( )
  SwensonBooks | Jun 4, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385739397, Hardcover)

17-year-old Shavonne has been in juvenile detention since the seventh grade. Mr Delpopolo is the first counselor to treat her as an equal, and he helps her get to the bottom of her self-destructive behavior, her guilt about past actions, and her fears about leaving the Center when she turns 18. Shavonne tells him the truth about her crack-addicted mother, the child she had (and gave up to foster care) at fifteen, and the secret shame she feels about what she did to her younger brother after her mother abandoned them. Meanwhile, Shavonne's mentally unstable roommate Cinda makes a rash move, and Shavonne's quick thinking saves her life—and gives her the opportunity to get out of the Center if she behaves well. But Shavonne's faith is tested when her new roommate, mentally retarded and pregnant Mary, is targeted by a guard as a means to get revenge on Shavonne. As freedom begins to look more and more likely, Shavonne begins to believe that maybe she, like the goslings recently hatched on the Center's property, could have a future somewhere else—and she begins to feel something like hope.

This is a brutally honest, but hopeful story of finding yourself and moving beyond your past.

From the Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:11 -0400)

Shavonne, a fierce, desperate seventeen year-old in juvenile lockup, wants to turn her life around before her eighteenth birthday, but corrupt guards, out-of-control girls, and shadows from her past make her task seem impossible.

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