Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 47, Issue 7, pp 1553–1555 | Cite as

Vera Lopez: Complicated Lives: Girls, Parents, Drugs and Juvenile Justice

New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2017, 240pp, 978-0-8135-8655-7
  • Melissa Devorkin
Book Review

In Complicated Lives, Vera Lopez concentrates on the lives of sixty-five drug-using teenagers, all of whom are currently in the juvenile system or have been in the juvenile system. Complicated Lives reveals personal stories of the trauma, hardships and the effect of growing up in a home with drug use, abuse, violence and child maltreatment. The book emphasizes the critical role childhood experiences play into whether a child enters into the juvenile system. After conducting interviews with these young women, Lopez realizes the extent to which unequipped parents can negatively affect the lives of their own daughters. Throughout the book, Lopez argues the need for the juvenile system to better rehabilitate girls. As of now, Lopez sees the system as a way to lock up delinquents rather than a system that provides them the necessary resources to succeed.

In Chapter 1, Lopez presents the big idea of a normal family versus a dysfunctional family. These terms, normal and dysfunctional, have...


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declare that she has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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