Lockdown is the first Walter Dean Myers novel that I can recommend wholeheartedly. I wasn't a fan of Slam or Monster, but figured I would give this a read so I could add it to the summer reading pile for my students.
Lockdown is a much easier read than Monster, more straight-forward storytelling and just as brutal. Reese is fourteen and in juvenile hall for stealing prescription pads. Usually I dislike protagonists that can't seem to stay out of trouble, but Myers makes Reese likable and his choices more understandable. The reader is sympathetic to Reese and wants him to succeed, but knows (as Reese does) that it won't be easy when he is back on the streets.
This is a novel that will appeal to my male students who are fascinated by all things gangster, but really don't understand what that means. Myers does a great job of taking the shine off of a life of crime.