Rikers High

Rikers High

3.77 (757 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

An unflinching story about justice, courage, and the life of one young man behind bars. It started out as an innocent day for Martin, but it quickly turned into his worst nightmare--arrested for something he didn't even mean to do. And five months later, he is still locked up in jail on infamous Rikers Island. Just when things couldn't get worse, Martin gets caught in a fight between two prisoners, and his face is slashed. He's scarred forever, but one good thing comes from the attack: Martin is transferred to a part of Rikers where inmates must attend high school. When he meets his caring and understanding teacher, will Martin open up and learn from his situation? Or will he be consumed by prison and getting revenge on his attackers? "Volponi, who taught on Rikers Island for six years, writes with an authenticity that will make readers feel Martin's fear."--Publishers Weekly "Volponi . . . brings to life a believable range of teachers, COs, and inmates and portrays power, hierarchies, and race relations both outside and inside the jail walls with unflinching realism."--School Library Journal "With down-to-earth language based on his own experiences . . . Volponi captures the reader."--VOYA
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 246 pages
  • 139.7 x 205.74 x 22.86mm | 113.4g
  • Penguin USA
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • Revised
  • 0142417785
  • 9780142417782
  • 947,550

About Paul Volponi

Paul Volponi is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult novel Black & White. From 1992 to 1998, he taught adolescents on Rikers Island in New York City to read and write. Mr. Volponi worked at a day treatment center like Daytop teaching students and helping them prepare for the GED. Mr. Volponi lives in New York City.
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Review quote

"With down-to-earth language based on his own experiences . . . Volponi captures the reader." -VOYA
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Rating details

757 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 28% (212)
4 34% (255)
3 28% (214)
2 8% (57)
1 3% (19)

Our customer reviews

Author Paul Volponi's real-life experience working with kids behind bars is the inspiration for RIKERS HIGH. His work teaching adolescent inmates to read and write help give this novel a realistic tone that will speak to teen as well as adult readers. Martin is weeks away from being released from Rikers Island. He earned his time there for giving an undercover cop information about where to buy drugs. Even though he viewed it as an honest mistake, he was in handcuffs outside his front door before his mother had time to get out the door to ask questions. As Martin tells his story, readers learn about life in the Rikers Island prison system. After spending some of his time in the adult population, Martin is moved to Sprung #3, which houses juvenile offenders. These young inmates attend school and hopefully spend their time in more productive activities than the older prisoners, but life is still rough and they face daily challenges - from uncooperative fellow prisoners and corrupt corrections officers. Martin describes the violence, the "business" some inmates conduct to profit from their fellow prisoners, the mistreatment at the hands of those in charge, and the homesickness and worry about family members on the outside. All of this combines to create a tense, stressful environment where young men are still expected to learn in the classroom and maintain control of raging emotions. Martin tries to keep his nose clean and focus on his release date, but he knows one wrong move or bad decision could end with a longer sentence and possibly a move back to the adult population. Trouble with his lawyer and a vicious attack that leaves him with a disfiguring facial scar make staying focused a real challenge. Martin's determination to return to his family and make the needed changes in his life makes his a truly inspiring story. Paul Volponi has a real following among teen readers, and when they learn that RIKERS HIGH has a real-life connection to the author's own experience, it is sure to be a popular read.show more
by TeensReadToo
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