Monday, February 8, 2010

Life ain't easy on the inside...

Paul Volponi's newest book has hit bookstores. I am a huge Volponi fan. My male students eat up his novels. So whenever he writes something I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

Mr. Volponi was kind enough to send me an ARC of Rikers High.

This novel is different than his other ones because it takes place in prison instead of on the streets. Martin Stokes was arrested when he told an undercover cop where to buy drugs. He then found himself shipped off to Rikers to await trial..a trial that is taking far too long.

What happens next is Martin's experiences in prison. There are so many subjects that are touched upon including loneliness, race relations, how the young inmates feel and their pecking order. What's great about this book is Mr. Volponi taught on Rikers so he saw what happened to these young teens as they struggle to make it out or get caught up in the system. The story is gritty, but the language is tamer in this novel than in previous books. Once again everything is touched upon including the sensitive subject of suicide. Mr. Volponi's characters feel real, which I think is one of the reasons male students like to read his novels.

I enjoyed this book and I think students looking for urban, realistic fiction will enjoy Rikers High.

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