Title: Something Like Hope
Author: Shawn Goodman
Published: December 2010 by Delecorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Realistic YA, Drama
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 her 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.
Something Like Hope had good intentions. Goodman set out to write a meaningful book about actual teen problems, and I can appreciate that. But somehow I also feel he expected the book to write itself, in a way. He didn't take the time to develop the story, as all authors should do. Everything happens too easily, and I don't feel that the author put much effort into making his story stand out; it's just another troubled-teenager-makes-a-big-life-change type book. Certainly better than your usual brainless PNR; but still, nothing about it was truly original or inspiring. Honestly, it's not too memorable. If you spot it on the shelf at the library, be sure to bypass it.
I wish I could write a longer, more in-depth review--but, really, there's nothing more to be said.