Review: Unlocked – Ryan G. Van Cleave

Cover of Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave

Title: Unlocked
Author: Ryan G. Van Cleave
Publication date: July 1st, 2011
Publisher: Walker & Company
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-8027-2355-0
Length: 170 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Gift
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Andy didn’t know Blake before he heard the rumour about the gun. As the janitor’s son, Andy has his own problems with nasty rumour—a commonality that paves the way for a real friendship. But when Blake starts acting strangely, Andy wonders if the gun has unlocked emotions in Blake that are more than either of them can handle. Suspecting that Blake might have a deadly plan in mind, can Andy accept that some secrets shouldn’t be kept?

If I had to sum this book up, I’d say it’s something I’ve never read before.  When I first saw Unlocked, I had no idea that it was written in verse. So imagine my surprise when I got the book the other day, flipped through it and saw that it is. Then I became sceptical. You see, I’m not a poetry fan (I’ve never been), therefore I haven’t even thought about reading a book that looked like a poem before. Right until now.

All I can say to anyone who -like me- doesn’t like poetry: this is entirely different. Initially, my biggest concern was that how can you express yourself in just about 170 pages (which, considering the fact that it’s written in verse, can be read in a few hours)? How can you describe the characters and make us feel sorry for them, love them, hate them, you name it? Well, Ryan G. Van Cleave managed to do that. I did feel sorry for Andy. He was bullied throughout his high school years, was ignored on a daily basis, came from a poor background and well… he made mistakes. But didn’t we all? I just loved Andy. He reminded me a little bit of myself when I was younger so I could definitely associate with him.

Unlocked is a short but very effective and emotional story about choosing between friendship and what is right. Fans of young adult novels will no doubt enjoy this, even if you haven’t read anything like this before. Ryan G. Van Cleave manages to describe the characters in so much detail and in such few words that it will definitely make you go ‘wow’. Brilliant! I can’t recommend it enough.

*Thank you to Faye from A Daydreamer’s Thoughts for sending me a copy of this book*


  1. says

    I’m like you I do not like poetry at all! The worst part of university was having to take the poetry classes. I’m surprised to hear that this author actually gets everything across in such a short amount of space and in verse as well. This sounds really well done, glad you enjoyed it!
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