At home, Junebug thinks about the father he hardly knows. He has been in prison for over six years. Maybe he’s really innocent, but if not, will people think that Junebug will grow up to be like him?
From Publishers Weekly
In Junebug in Trouble by Alice Mead, the third adventure about the 10-year-old hero, he meets up with Robert, an old friend from the housing project where Junebug and his family used to live. When he finds out Robert is running with a gang member, Junebug tries to help his friend get back on track. –Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grades 3-6–The engaging protagonist from two previous books grapples with some very difficult issues in this candid and involving novel. As fifth-grader Junebug tries (unsuccessfully) to build a relationship with his irresponsible father, who is in jail, he also deals with his friend Robert’s intentions to join a gang. Like many of the children in this book, Robert hopes to achieve a sense of belonging that his unstable home life cannot provide. A supportive network of realistically flawed adults, especially his loving mother, helps Junebug sort through a number of moral decisions about what friendship and loyalty entail, taking responsibility for one’s actions, and why lying is bad. The author sympathetically conveys the sense of hopelessness felt by some of the characters; no one is all bad or all good. Junebug is a winning narrator, sharing with readers his uncensored thoughts and feelings. This book will ring true to many young readers and expose others to the challenges faced by children today. An excellent choice, particularly for reluctant readers.–B. Allison Gray, South Country Library, Bellport, NY
Gr. 5-8. The title says it all. Ten-year-old Reeve McLain Jr., aka Junebug, gets tangled up in just the sort of situation his mother was trying to avoid when she moved the family out of the projects in the novel Junebug (1995). His friend Robert, who still lives in the projects, tells Junebug he’s thinking about joining a gang like Trevor, an older boy who has a gun. Junebug is desperate to help his friend, who is clearly a neglected child, but at the same time he’s horrified by the way Robert shifts from the open, funny boy he used to be to a tough, angry young man. The criminal justice system is an important theme in the book: Junebug is with an older boy who is unfairly searched because he is black, he goes to visit his self-centered father in prison, and he winds up in court himself after a shooting. As in her previous novels, Mead writes of important subjects with tenderness, humanity, and realism, and she creates in Junebug a touching character with sensitivity and a loving heart. –Susan Dove Lempke