69 pages 2 hours read

Gordon Korman

The Juvie Three

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2008

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Summary and Study Guide


The Juvie Three (2008) is a young adult novel by Gordon Korman. It is a unique coming-of-age story about personal transformation and found family, and a commentary on the stigmas that often burden those held back by their pasts. Korman challenges these societal perceptions and shows that we all have the power to change. This study guide references the 2008 paperback edition from Hyperion Books.

Plot Summary

Graham Fosse, known as “Gecko,” drives a stolen getaway car for his brother Rueben. At 14, driving is his greatest skill and his greatest comfort—even when it gets him sent to the Jerome Atchison Juvenile Detention Center. Terence Florian has been in the correctional system for a while due to a string of misdemeanors and a robbery gone wrong, and Arjay Moran was sent to prison for an accidental murder. All three are approached by Douglas Healy and offered a chance to get out: He has created a unique “halfway house” program where the four of them will live together in an apartment in New York, going to school, counseling, and community service for six months of rehabilitation.

Terence craves the safety and security of a “crew,” and approaches DeAndre, a tough kid at his school, wanting to join his gang. One night, Terence is sneaking out through the apartment fire escape to go and meet DeAndre, but he is caught by Gecko and Arjay. They try to convince him to come back inside, and their altercation wakes Healy, who joins them. During the fight, Healy is accidentally knocked off the edge and falls four stories. The boys drive him to the hospital, drop him at the doors, and drive away. When Gecko drops in to check on him later, he learns that Healy is unidentified and in a coma. He begins volunteering at the hospital to keep an eye on him. The boys agree to keep up their responsibilities and maintain the illusion that Healy is still there until he wakes up and comes home.

At school, Arjay begins taking music lessons at lunchtime, and Terence tries to make his way into DeAndre’s circle. Gecko has begun dating one of the other hospital volunteers, Roxanne, while trying to keep his precarious home life a secret from her. Healy wakes up but has lost all of his memories, so the boys need to keep up their deception at home. Arjay feeds his love of music by sneaking out to see a show and joining a band, and DeAndre offers Terence an “initiation” into his gang: beat up an old woman and throw her in a frigid fountain, bringing him her ring as proof. Terence realizes DeAndre isn’t who he wants to be after all and refuses.

Apart from his missing memories, Healy is in perfect health, so he’s transferred out of the medical hospital and into a psychiatric one. The boys receive a message for Healy from their social worker saying that she’ll be coming to the apartment for an assessment. In desperation, the boys and Roxanne stage a plan to break Healy out and bring him home. Once they arrive, however, DeAndre and his friends are waiting for them, and they take Terence hostage. A fight ensues, and Healy and the boys end up on the fire escape, where Healy’s memories return. The police show up and arrest DeAndre, and Healy and the halfway house boys are able to begin looking to the future.