Martin Stokes could hold his own in the though New York CIty neighborhood where he grew up, but that’s nothing–nothing—compared to Rikers Island. Martin’s been in the Rikers Island jail for four months and counting, locked up for a crime he didn’t even mean to commit.
After his court date is delayed yet again, Martin gets caught in a razor fight between two warring inmates. Now his face will forever be marked with a jailhouse scar. But one good thing comes from this attack: Martin is transferred to a different part of Rikers, where adolescent inmates are required to attend high school. There he meets a teacher who genuinely wants to help Martin turn his life around. Will he see the light, or be consumed with getting revenge on his attackers.
This book has been getting popular with some of my friends lately, so I wanted to see what it was all about. I can definitely see the appeal to it.
Geez… that makes it sound like I didn’t like the book.
I did, and part of why I did is because of the premise of the story. A lot of jailhouse stories I’ve heard about, watched or read, the jail part of the book is:
- Just a background, a setting.
- Not the focus of the story.
- About adults coping with life like that.
- A documentary.
And I have yet to hear about a book with an idea like RIKERS HIGH. I mean–there’s books like MONSTER and IF I GROW UP, but there’s not a whole lot that I’ve heard about that’s focused on teenagers in prison.
And then there’s the book itself. The writing is good and I liked the feel to the story. Even though there was some talking involved, it felt like the story itself was still exciting. It wasn’t boring. I loved the way this book was told through Martin’s narration and how Rikers Island was set up. I enjoyed his journey and how he changed as a character during his time at Rikers High. I thought this was a great book. 4 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 256
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