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Rikers High

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  498 ratings  ·  112 reviews
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 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 ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published February 4th 2010 by Speak (first published April 1st 2002)
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Don’t you think it would suck if you had to go to jail for a crime you didn’t mean to commit? The book Rikers High, by Paul Volponi is a great book and it’s about a guy named Martin who goes to jail at 15 years old because of a setup. The way this happened is he was sitting on his porch when some undercover cops came and asked him where to buy drugs. Then the they arrested him five minutes later and then before you know it he’s been in jail for five months and counting waiting for his turn to se ...more
I picked this book because it seemed really interesting to read. The little preview of the book caught my attention and so i started to read it. This book is realistic fiction because it tells many things that would happen in real life. The setting of this book is in New York. Martin which is the main character is a very innocent boy in the story until one day coming back from court he gets attacked by another inmate and gets slash on the face. He'll have that mark on his face for the rest of hi ...more
While the main character is learning valuable life lessons and the overall theme of the book may be that young people can choose to learn from mistakes . . .theirs and others'--this book just didn't deliver for me. The characters remained shallow and underdeveloped, which may have been intentional since it is the story of life in jail, but it kept me from caring much about anyone. There are quite a few subtle subplots and character clues that may not be easily recognized or interpreted by some j ...more
Evan Bautch
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Luis Diaz
This book is about a boy named Martin that's trying to stay out of trouble in jail for a crime he dint meant to commit awaiting his court day. I liked this book for many reasons. The lead characters martin the one locked up, brick some what of a bully in the book, Sanchez one of Martins friends, and the CO'S. I liked this book, because everyday Martin is locked up there was something going on which made me want to finish the book its truly entertaining. I wouldn't change anything from the book a ...more
Joseph Masamery
Rikers High was an entertaining book. The story was very predictable but it was still good. Martin was arrested for something he didn't even mean to do and he's stuck on Rikers Island because of financial reasons. After a gang fight in the prison, he gets slashed and moved into a new part of the prison. In this new area, he has to attend high school and meets a teacher who for some reason treats the prisoners with respect. This teacher tries to get to know Martin and helps him throughout his sta ...more
The following is a summary and review from Megan Honig of New York Public Library. Her review perfectly summarized my thoughts on the book.
"Martin Stokes is awaiting trial at Rikers Island, a New York City correctional facility. His alleged crime is steering: telling an undercover police officer where to buy marijuana in his neighborhood. Riding back to Rikers on a bus after his court date is rescheduled, Martin gets caught between two boys fighting and is cut in the face with a blade. He is ass
Rikers High follows the pattern of all Volponi novels -- disadvantaged teens in trouble, trying to find their way through, while some adults are helpful and others totally useless.

In this case, Martin is in jail at Rikers Island. He's being accused of "steering" -- when an undercover officer asked him where he could score some dope, Martin told him. Because of the system, his hearing has been postponed several times, so Martin has been in jail for about five months and this story covers the last
Samantha Heare
A moving depiction of life in Rikers prison for teenagers who are awaiting trial or release. Martin known as “forty” in prison learned the rules of prison life fast, but even so it doesn’t save him from getting slashed across the cheek by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It also doesn’t save him from the typical horrors of abusive guards, prison thugs, and wrong decisions that have life altering consequences. However, with the lesson learned from his father letter from prison upstate ...more
Jose Pena
John Voliponi's action packed fiction novel, Rikers High, is a prime example of the quote " don't ask, don't tell" because the main character Martin, was sent to Rikers island Juvenile center after being charged for carrying drugs. Martin was a normal kid in Harlem, New York that lives with his mother and his grandmother. He doesn't know his own father because his father was sent to jail when Martin was too young to remember. After a under cover cop asked him where to receive the best type of "w ...more
Deborah Takahashi
Martin Stokes is currently serving time in New York's Rikers Island on a "trumped" charge that should have slapped him with no time served and probation. However, due to financial hardship, Martin's mother was unable to post his bail and his original court day was delayed by his public defender and the judge presiding over his case. Martin has been at Riker's for five months and he is desperate to get out. When his new court date finally arrived, Martin faced yet another set-back and was sent ba ...more
Tanner Helms
How would you feel being put into jail with no one you know and nowhere to go? That’s how Martin feels when he has to go to jail for something he didn’t mean to do. In the book “Rikers High” Martin is sent to a jail on the island of Rikers for supposedly selling drugs and leading an undercover cop to a drug dealer.
In this book the main plot is a young boy is sent to jail for leading cops to drugs. While he is imprisoned he gets his court dates brought back over and over again. He is stuck in jai
Great book!! I finished this one in about 3 days. The pages flew by and I had to stop myself from skipping to the end to find out what happens. 17 year old Martin Stokes has always been a pretty good kid. He wants to finish high school and help out his mom and grandma with his 2 younger sisters. He knows the realities of life in the ghetto, especially with a dad doing time upstate. The irony of it is that he day Martin gets arrested all he was doing was sitting on his front porch minding his own ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

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 h
Kelly Thielen
Volponi tells the story of Martin Stokes, a young boy who is arrested for "Steering," telling an undercover cop where he can find drugs. He didn't actually sell the drugs - just knew where the cop could get some. He can't make bail, so he must await trial in jail whSteeringere he learns a thing or two about prison, about life, about caring and about what he wants in life.

Book Talk: Volponi tells the story of Martin Stokes, a young boy who is arrested for "Leading," telling an undercover cop wher
J Hildred

My Review:


Paul Voloponi creates authentic characters in Rikers High. Martin the main character is brought to life through the descriptions and interactions with other characters. Ritz, Jessup, Sanchez, Brick, and Shaky are all inmates in Rikers. These characters each play a significant role in developing the authenticity of the novel. Paul Voloponi pulls from his background knowledge to create this range of characters. In addition to the inmates, Voloponi does an excellent job creatin
Liza Wiemer
I now have read every book by "The King of Urban Fiction," Paul Volponi. RIKERS HIGH- first published in 2002 as RIKERS - was the first book published by Volponi - and the last one for me to read. Heart-stopping, powerful, exceptional, and REAL! These are just words that have no meaning unless you read this book.

A general comment:
I hope EVERYONE reads Volponi's books, including this one. He opens windows to society that few have the guts to see. Most shut their eyes tight and never give this p
Josestevan Villalobos
this book is one of the best books i have ever read its a story about a kid who goes to juvie on Rikers Island he gets cut and is sent to another part of an island .there he has to go to school and meats new people and new co's. he makes a friend by giving him a nick name ritz he talks about ritz being the only white kid in jail he starts geting along more with his romeate sanchez. he also meats brick the guy with the story and in charge of the phones. 40 is the main characters nick name by the ...more
This is the 2nd book by Volponi I've read and it met my expectations. Martin, now called Forty, his count off number, is on Riker's Island on a BS charge, one that anyone with money for a good lawyer would have beat. He's been to the judge three times, but his legal aid lawyer just doesn't have it together. Coming back from the fourth time, a guy with snake tattoos on his neck slices his face with a razor. He goes to the clinic and then is moved to a different house. One where he can go to schoo ...more
John Lind
This is a definite must-read book. "Rikers High" is a book that always keeps you on your toes. It constantly keeps you guessing and wanting to what is going to happen next. It is a book that will change your whole entire perspective on some things in life. I have never had to go to jail, but this really puts a good view on what it is like to have to live in jail and what some people have to go through each and every day. This book shows that even when you make one tiny little mistake, you can st ...more
I would like to start off by saying Rikers high is my favorite out of all the books I have read. The book is full of excitement all i kept wondering what was going to happen next. Every time I read a page I couldn’t help but want to read the next i read the book all day nonstop. When I first picked out the book wasn’t really sure I would like it. I didn’t really think I would get all into the book either. But after reading a little the book had me thinking about what I have experienced in my lif ...more
When you hear the title, Riker’s High, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it, “Well that’s original,” or does it capture your interest and make you want to find out more? For me, it did. After reading the introduction of Riker’s High by Paul Volponi, I felt that I had a pretty good understanding of what the book was like. I was wrong. Riker’s High contained a lot of twists and turns that I didn’t fully comprehend until the end of the book. The main character Martin, AKA “Forty”, ...more
i believe that the authors purpose of writing this book was to tell young ones how jail really was and what you have to go through. in this story there was a little African american boy who got caught for a drug bust and was sent to jail, away from his family and friends.
the theme of this book is to never think bad no matter what tough times you have to go through in life. always think positive about things and not to get aggravated about things when they get to you.
the type of novel this book
Just finished the ARC for Rikers High and I loved Paul Volponi's character, Martin Stokes, an African American teen still incredulous about how "steering" landed him at Rikers Island jail. With short, terse, descriptive sentences we live the fear and horror of juvenile jail. From the first sentence, Martin narrates his life as inmate number "40" and the daily grind at Rikers with chilling, no nonsense details. Martin expected to be home already but there were holdups with his case and as he goes ...more
The book starts out with the main character Martin imprisioned at Rickers Island correctional facility. He is arrest for a petty crime called "steering"(10). Martin was asked by a undercover cop where he could find marijuana so Martin told him. For that Martin a 17 year old boy is put in prison for 5 monthes while the prepare his court date. Martin is in the prison yard where inmates conjugate, Martin is caught inbetween a gang fight with two guys from different gangs. While in this situation M ...more
Summary: Martin Stokes is incarcerated in Riker’s Island for a crime that he did not mean to commit. While there, he must be always on guard against other inmates who would take advantage of him. This hardened exterior belies his inner feelings of fear and remorse for hurting his family. He is given an opportunity to work on his GED and meets a teacher who believes in him. His friend, Sanchez, is not so lucky and kills himself in his cell out of despair. This experience firms Martin’s resolve to ...more
At 17, Martin is arrested and thrown into jail--Rikers Island--for steering, telling an undercover police officer where to buy pot in his neighborhood. He's sure he'll be released as soon as his case is presented to the judge, but there's been no end of problems in getting his case heard, and his court date has been rescheduled several times. Martin is starting to lose himself to the misery of life in jail when he's moved to a different section of the prison--a section specifically for youth, wh ...more
Tyreesha Cagle

Martin was sitting on the front stoop of his apartment building minding his own business when he was arrested for something he didn't even mean to do. Five months later, he's still locked up on Rikers Island, in a New York City jail. Just when it seems things couldn't get much worse, Martin is caught between two warring prisoners, and his face is slashed. Now he'll be forever marked with a prison scar. At this prison is a high school for the inmates so they can finish school like the regular ki
Ages 13+ (language in jail is rough, yo)

Gritty and realistic, the story follows Martin, a teenager who is locked up on Riker's Island for "steering" - telling an undercover cop where to buy drugs in his neighborhood. His court date has been delayed three times, and following vicious fight he found himself in the middle of, he's been moved into a new building. He's got two weeks before he goes back to court. Can he make it just a little longer?

Martin isn't given a "good kid who made a bad mistak
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