Jennifer Wardrip's Reviews > Rooftop

Rooftop by Paul Volponi
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's review
May 11, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: trt-posted-reviews

Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for

In ROOFTOP, Clay, arrested for drug possession, is enrolled in a special program called Daytop. It's for teens on parole. Kids report to the Daytop Center during the day where counselors (recovering drug offenders themselves) run a strict program complete with a philosophy statement, chores and responsibilities, study time for the GED, and a sense of family most of the kids are missing.

At Daytop, Clay runs into a cousin he hasn't seen in awhile. The two are happy to be back together, but there is tension because Addison still lives in the projects and is actively involved in some nasty stuff. Clay's goal is to get free of drugs and make something of himself. His father is his role-model. Clay's dad has been able to beat the odds and build a laundry business from scratch and move his family out of the housing projects to the other side of the street. His dream is to see Clay not only earn his GED, but also go on to college.

Even though Clay's home life is better than Addison's, he is still surrounded by less desirable elements on the streets and in school. He struggles to stay clean and pass his urine/drug tests. Another run-in for smoking pot and he'll be in jail for real.

Running with Addison one night, Clay ends up on a rooftop chasing Clorox, who owes Addison money. Clorox gets away, but when the two cousins try to follow him, they are met by the police. Thinking the cops are really Clorox and his gang, Addison grabs his wallet and fakes that it is a gun. The cops open fire, and Addison is hit by a fatal shot in the chest.

Having a seemingly innocent kid shot by the cops doesn't sit well in the projects. Family and friends are out to get the guilty cop sent to jail. The entire community becomes involved in trying to settle the score.

Volponi draws the reader into the tough lives of his characters. Vivid action and rough language paint a clear picture of life on the inner city streets.

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