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Ten Mile River

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  209 ratings  ·  48 reviews
A stunning debut novel about survival and friendship on the streets of New York City. Best friends Ray and Jose are not your typical thirteen-year-olds. They've escaped foster care and juvenile detention centers to live on their own together in an abandoned building located near Manhattan Park called Ten-Mile River. With no use for school or families, street-smart Jose and ...more
Hardcover, 194 pages
Published June 12th 2008 by Dial Books (first published June 1st 2008)
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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  209 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Christian Pizzarelli
Christian Pizzarelli

For the third quarter, I read the book Ten Mile River by Paul Griffin.

There are two major characters: José, 15 and Ray, 14 are two street smart best friends who have survived foster care and juvenile detention together, and now hide out from their parole officers in a burned-out stationhouse in New York City's Ten Mile River park. They make their day’s pay by stealing, working occasionally, and trying to stay under police radar. The two boys have no parents and live by
Nov 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: abuse, male
I didn't like The Orange Houses, but was suprised to find out that this book was actually his first, and I really liked it! Two boys are surviving under the radar after skipping out on juvie and foster care by squatting in a place by Ten Mile River with their motley crew of dogs. When Raymond, the slower of the two, befriends a girl from a braid shop, she falls for Jose and the competition begins. Back and forth, they get into trouble, try to make things right again, while playing the roles simi ...more
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
It was a quick read at only 187-or-so pages, fast enough to keep my attention even though it didn't have a definite plot. It was one of those books that makes you see the world a little differently, through the eyes of someone else for once. I wouldn't suggest it if you're looking for romance, or high-intensity plot. It was a book that warmed my heart and I think its a good read for teenagers. Teaches a little something about loyalty, about courage, and about making your own choices in life.

Nov 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Two teen aged boys who met in a juvenile detention center live alone in park land near the Hudson River in NYC. Jose is the handsome leader and Ray the shy,smart and strong one. Ray's loyalty to Jose leads him to make mistakes and pass up opportunities to improve his life. It is a gritty, moving story with appropriately tough language.
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
So, gritty. So, real. Paul Griffin is a treasure. He changes lives. Every. Day. Recommended for the most reluctant urban reader, ages 13 & up.
STAY WITH ME is still my favorite, but this is an excellent novel for struggling teens.
Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Gritty urban YA. An excellent first novel. I cared so much for Ray by the end; I need a sequel!!
Richie Partington
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
11 April 2008 TEN MILE RIVER by Paul Griffin, Dial, June 2008, 196p. ISBN: 978-0-8037-3284-1

"Oh, save me, save me from tomorrow
I don't want to sail with this ship of fools, no, no" -- World Party

"Some gangbanger leaned out of a bass-booming, cruising Mercedes, chucked a Dunkin' Donuts bag into the street. A flock of lean pigeons dropped down on the fresh trash.
"'How'd I get here?' Ray said to the pigeons.
"The pigeons didn't give a damn about Ray. They pecked that Dunkin' waste as if it were ma
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you are looking for a book that from a young kid's point of view and that is very intense and mysterious, I encouraging you to read the book Ten Mile River. This book does have a little slang in the words but that’s just because they are teenage boys in a big city being on their own. These boys aren't like the wealthy kids you see walking around with their parents and in a fancy looking car. They are the complete opposite. After reading about this book with very scripted details, you would kn ...more
Mandy Peterson
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is very popular in the high school library where I work. I've read all kinds of YA (it's my favorite), but I just could not get into this book. Perhaps it's because I was spoiled with books like "The Outsiders" and "Snitch". However, now I can talk to students about this book so it's worth something to them. Maybe I'll discover more about it through those conversations.
Mickey Gonzalez
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I somewhat liked the book because I didn't like how it didn't have a variety of themes and settings. but the part that I did like was the different characters that were introduced and how it affected others in the book.
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Honestly this book was amazing it was full of suspense two teens living in alone at young age and liking the same girl and a lot of stuff happen it was interesting the development and changes that happen during their journey.
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is a good book with a lot of detail included, I would say the book is a best fit for teenagers.
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
Young teens Jose and Ray, friends who met in "juvie", live on their own in New York City, squatting in an abandoned building and stealing food to survive. While they can rely on Miss Yolie, who runs a braid shop, to treat them with kindness, most of the adults the boys meet only seek to use them for personal gain. The owner of a body shop pays them to shatter windshields and eventually entices them to steal cars for him, promising big financial rewards.

Jose is a slick one, bold, handsome, and c
Such a great story about two teens on their own and trying to do the best but running into troubles right and left. Love how there's always dogs involved in Griffin's stories. :)
Apr 04, 2009 rated it liked it
This novel is a brand new voice on the YA scene with a story that I haven't even remotely comes across in my reading. Ray and Jose are the result of the foster system and have long ago deserted it. Since then they have been living in their shambolic digs, enjoying some creature comforts but doing without many basic needs.

The dialogue is authentic, the boys riffing off each other in a way that is very specific to guys. They love one another as brothers but many homophobic jokes make it clear that
Nov 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: review
In 'Ten Mile River', Ray and Jose are close friends who have repeatedly escaped foster care and juvenile detention centres. As they live together in an abandoned building near Ten Mile River, they scrape by thanks to a series of petty crimes. When they meet a pretty girl named Trini, their interest in her threatens their friendship. Will Ray and Jose be able to survive on their own or will the law catch up to them?

Although this book didn't exactly have a plot, it was readable because it was refr
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ray and Jose are on the run from the law. They have fled from their respective foster homes and have created a life for themselves in an abandoned station in ten mile river. They steal when they want something, but are comfortable with their outlaw status. Until they meet a young girl who works in her Aunt's braid shop. Ray wants to go straight and live properly. He has a hunger for learning, and for this girl. Jose, the lady's man, has no desire to live in any way other than the one he and Ray ...more
Jonathan Andrus
Ten Mile River book review
By: Jonathan Andrus

If you’re looking for a really good novel to read then I have the one just for you. Ten Mile River.

The author Paul Griffin writes about two homeless boys. Ray and Jose, who have been through everything together and pretty much are brothers. They stay in New York City’s Ten Mile River Park. They make their way by stealing and “working”. Ray is bigger and the smarter one. But Jose is still the boss.

There are a lot of difficult decisions the main cha
F.T. Bradley
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I picked up Ten Mile River in passing at my library. The cover looked cool, NYC in blue-ish tint, so I put it on the pile. And I'm glad I did.

Ten Mile River is the story of two juvenile delinquent teens; the book opens with "Ray is bigger, but Jose is boss," which sums up perfectly what it's all about. Ray is smarter (he reads Scientific American), but feels obligated to Jose, who is his foster brother. The two are hiding out in an abandoned stationhouse in NYC's Ten Mile River Park, surviving b
Akhil Kamboj
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ten Mile River

I really like think book because it made me learn a lot about life and how the world doesn't revolve around you and how life isn't perfect witch was explained by Jose and Ray, Best Friends in this book but see them self's as brothers. Jose and Ray have no parents and live by their self. They’ve escaped foster care and juvenile detention centers to live on their own together. This book was really interesting, mysterious and really funny. this book also showed me how the impossible c
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who is interested in the new york city life
Recommended to Jake by: A teahcer
I read Ten Mile River by Paul Griffin. Now there are two major characters that the story is centered on. First there is Jose; Jose is 15, muscular, troublesome and street smart. Then there is Ray who is a polar opposite from his best friend (Jose) Ray is on the bigger side, he is 14, and has some book smart. Both Jose and Ray have always gotten in trouble but has always stuck with each other. They have done everything from steal, escape Juvenal hall. They both live in an abandoned building in Ne ...more
Dec 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
This one's about as gritty as YA gets. Yet, it reads true and is very compelling. Try this one on fans of Ellen Hopkins, Walter Dean Myers, Rachel Cohn, Sharon Flake or K.L. Going.

Jose and Ray are 15 and 14 years old. They've survived Juvie, Foster Care and the streets together. They do whatever they have to, in order to get by. The two boys have made themselves a family, and are closer than most blood brothers. They each have their strengths, Jose his street smarts and good looks; Ray his bril
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Jose and Raymundo are homeless friends who met in juvie hall. They steal cars and food to live. Ray reads all the time and thinks about going back to school and playing it straight. Then Ray meets Trina, the hot niece of the lady who cuts his hair. He doesn't want to introduce Trina to Jose cause he knows they will hook up. They do. They are sent back to separate jails after a car robbery goes awry. When they get out they hook back up in the home they have created in an abandoned train station i ...more
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Two boys have been in and out of the foster care system and juvenile detention centres in New York City. Jose is 15 and Ray is 14. They are "friends to the ends," totally loyal to each other, and live with a pack of dogs in a shack on a wooded hillside. Break and enters, shoplifting, car theft - they do what they must to survive. Jose expects his life to be short, so he isn't afraid of taking risks. Ray has a tender heart and a strong moral compass; both qualities create conflict with Jose and t ...more
Jan 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really like Paul Griffin's novels but I feel conflicted about them. The characters are unique to YA - urban, poor, uneducated - but do they just reinforce stereotypes? Am I reading a minstrel show? I don't believe that's how it's intended, but sometimes that's how it feels when I read about two homeless kids stealing, scheming, going in and out of juvie, breaking into homes, and getting drunk.

That said, I still think Paul Griffin is an excellent writer with a fabulous ear for dialogue and a gi
Christopher Wagner
Oct 08, 2016 rated it liked it
A decent novel of teenage growth. We follow two "brothers" who have nothing in life save each other and who spend the entire book relying on each other - even though its obvious that one boy relies on the other considerably more.

An unknown love triangle weaves its way through the story permanently clouding the judgement of the main character and only at the end does he grasp the realism of his situation. Fast moving, some dramatic elements, not overly sexual or violent. Easy reading novel.
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adults, poverty
It's such a depressing, yet hopeful book. I loved how Ray could finally separate from José and follow his own dreams. It was very nice of Trini and Yolie to always think of the boys and take care of them, despite the fact that they were both oblivious about the boys' records until the end. The language, though, was sure a little rough, but again--this whole book is about illiteracy and poverty. Anyways, a very soulful book indeed.
Mar 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: realistic
Ray and Jose have been together since foster care, juvie, and well, just about for-ever. Brothers (not by blood), they're thick as thieves....literally. Jose and Ray would do ANYTHING for each other, but when ANYTHING comes down to holding each other back from their true potential, will the bond between these two last?
I enjoyed this book - really liked the characters. Found the dialect (slang) a bit disruptive to the flow of my reading.
Nov 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have been waiting to read this book for a while. It was recommended to me by several people. This book is very real and very scary. I kept putting it down and telling the people around me, "The characters in my book are not making good choices." As a high school teacher, I found it to be very frustrating and extremely sad, but I liked how Griffin wrote the truth with no apologies.
Sep 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
A solid entry in the "YA fiction about urban teens" genre. Griffin's two male protagonists are both totally believable, if all the action is not. The ending felt rushed and unsatisfyingly ambiguous, but I really liked the journey along the way. It's also gritty enough that it seems likely to appeal to my students.
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Paul Griffin lives, writes, and trains dogs in New York City. His previous novel, The Orange Houses, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults Top Ten, an International Reading Association 2010 Notable Book for a Global Society, a Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best Book of 2009, and an Amelia Bloomer Project Award winner.
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