Rikers High

Paul Volponi, Author . Viking $16.99 (246p) ISBN 978-0-670-01107-0

Volponi (Homestretch ) recasts his adult novel, Rikers (Black Heron, 2002), for a teen audience that will likely be riveted. Seventeen-year-old Martin Stokes has been imprisoned for five months, awaiting trial for a petty crime. Returning from court, he cannot get out of the way when another inmate attacks the boy to whom he is shackled. Martin's face is slashed with a razor; the ensuing scar is a metaphor for the mark prison will leave on the boy, who is no angel (he tells his harried legal aid lawyer she is a “miserable shit”), but whose punishment bears absolutely no relationship to his crime. His break comes when a jailhouse teacher helps him see the importance of finishing school, setting Martin on a path to make the right choice when he's yet again thrust into a violent altercation not of his own making. Volponi, who taught on Rikers Island for six years, writes with an authenticity that will make readers feel Martin's fear. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/18/2010
Release date: 02/01/2010
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-101-18031-0
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-101-18512-4
Paperback - 246 pages - 978-0-14-241778-2
Prebound-Sewn - 246 pages - 978-1-61383-167-0
Prebound-Sewn - 272 pages - 978-0-606-15359-1
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