"She fervently hoped that the facilities she'd read about were anomalies, a few bad detentions centers out of thousands across the country that worked well. But she expected that wasn't the case. She also suspected that as more and more states moved to private, for profit, prisons, both for juveniles and adults, the abuses would increase."
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review thanks to NetGally.*
So many heart strings have been pulled throughout reading this book. Before being a stay at home mom, I was a Paralegal, so with following Dani through her ambition to help Frankie I was very excited to see where the story was going. However, I was strongly reminded how corrupt the legal system can be. Going through college and working in the environment, my mind always thinks of the legal system screwing over adults and rescuing children from abusive parents or sex trafficking circles. I never envisioned that so much corruption could be destroying childrens' lives as well. I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of pain and frustration Green must have been feeling as she did her research for this great story.
First Offense is about Frankie, 12 years old, getting thrown into the justice system over trying to fit in at a new school once again by flaunting a couple joints of marijuana. His punishment is sever considering its his first offense and he has a history of being a straight A student. After a couple of months in the juvenile detention center, Frankie is beaten so bad he is sent to the hospital and is in such fear of his life... runs. Then begins the grand story of keeping him safe and away from the facility that is full of teenagers who should of never been there thanks to the corrupt judge.
I really enjoyed the plot except I felt like the book was wrapping up and coming to a close about halfway through. Green took too big of a section in the middle of the book to "fill some gaps" that really drug out the story. It was nice to know what happen to the characters but I think the events should have been broken up a bit so it didn't feel like there was a conclusion in the middle of the book.
There was some frustrating parts for me since I have a legal background. I found that the author was trying to discretely explain legal terms: "ACOD. Dani didn't have to explain to Tommy that it meant adjournment in contemplation of dismissal" I guess it could be nice for readers who don't have any experience in the law or who have never picked up a book that dealt with a courtroom setting -- but I guess that what Google is for too. I tried to be ok with Green explaining terms like this until I came across her explaining to me what FIFA was -- I don't live under a rock.
I found myself acting like a football fan on Football Sunday, yelling at the screen wondering what in the world Frank's first attorney was thinking-- I guess ignorance really is bliss. If I was Frank's mother, he probably would have been sued for negligence. For example, Franky was being accused of starting fights and then getting his butt whooped by the older kids... one look at his knuckles would have easily ruled that out (with a doctor's testimony of course) as there was no physical "damage" done to his knuckles. I felt like this simple explanation would of saved Frankie a lot of trouble - why would this not be brought up? And what attorney watches a BS conviction and then advisees the mother to not continue with an appeal and allow her child to go to juvy, especially after the father has just gone MIA?!?!
Overall I was very drawn into the book. It was well written and I would recommend it to a friend. It is obvious that Green did a lot of research and I love how she brought it to life.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars