"Another solid entry in the 'Orca Soundings' series that will appeal to either gender...Recommended."
"A suspenseful, tightly plotted story that manages, in only 102 pages, to create both a memorable protagonist and a thought-provoking, emotionally involving story."
Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group
"An intriguing storyline...The story is told in first person by Corbin, pulling the reader into his changed life. The reader feels his doubt and anger. This book will make a good "guy read", especially for reluctant readers."
"Good for students who are looking for a quick read."
Children's Literature - Della A. Yannuzzi
Author Tullson has written a thoughtful short novel about a boy named Corbin who loses his friend in a senseless act of violence. Corbin tells the story of how he and Darius found themselves in a dangerous situation in a place called Riley Park. The novel opens with Corbin seeing a girl named Rubee hurrying to her job at Safeway. He is waiting for his friend Darius, who arrives to see Corbin watching Rubee. Darius encourages Corbin to ask her out, but Corbin says she has a boyfriend. Darius decides to invite Rubee to a party at Riley Park on the banks of the Riley River. Corbin is annoyed that Darius has done this. When Corbin and Darius get to the park, they jump off a cliff into the water. When they emerge from the river, Rubee is there to greet them. Darius flirts with Rubee and Corbin gets angry. Darius tells him he had his chance to ask Rubee out. Corbin sulks and begins drinking beer. He passes out and awakes after everyone has left except Darius. They are about to leave when Corbin gets hit from behind, then he sees three guys attacking Darius. He goes over to help Corbin even though he has been hit in the back of the head with a steel bar. He fights and fights and then he hears sirens. The guys run away leaving Darius on the ground. They are both taken to the hospital where Darius dies and Corbin is seriously injured. As the story evolves, the reader finds out that Rubee's ex-boyfriend and his friends are responsible for this thoughtless act. Young lives are ruined and changed forever. Riley Park is a fast-paced, dialogue-filled book with a strong message that will cause readers to think about the choices they make. Reviewer: Della A. Yannuzzi
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—During a party-prepping trip to Safeway, friends Corbin and Darius flirt with Rubee, a local hottie manning the cash register. Darius invites her to the party, and the boys leave the market anticipating Rubee's arrival. At the party, he makes a play for her, and Corbin, in a jealous and alcohol-induced fit, attacks him. The party ends when Corbin passes out. (Gallant friend that he is, Darius remains with Corbin until he wakes up.) Without warning, the boys are jumped and severely beaten by hooded assailants. Corbin awakens in the ER and learns that while both he and his friend suffered severe head trauma, he is now under investigation for murder as Darius has died of his injuries. No witnesses saw the attackers, but the partygoers can attest to Corbin fighting with Darius. Corbin tries to resume his pre-assault life and find out who killed his friend, but his extensive injuries hamper his attempts. Likable flawed characters drive the plot in this gritty contemporary drama. The fast-paced read feels current and edgy without succumbing to inner-city staging. Riley Park will have both reluctant and struggling readers flipping the pages.—H. H. Henderson, Heritage Middle School, Deltona, FL
Read an Excerpt
The steel bar swings again, thudding against Darius's back. Darius makes a whooshing noise, that's all.