Rooftop

Rooftop

3.7 8
by Paul Volponi
     
 

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Clay is committed to cleaning up his act. He’s at Daytop, a drug treatment facility, working towards getting his GED and kicking his drug habit. Then one day his estranged cousin, Addison, shows up at the program. Addison’s a bigger, bolder version of Clay: he’s older, he’s into harder drugs, and he’s in more trouble.That trouble

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Overview

Clay is committed to cleaning up his act. He’s at Daytop, a drug treatment facility, working towards getting his GED and kicking his drug habit. Then one day his estranged cousin, Addison, shows up at the program. Addison’s a bigger, bolder version of Clay: he’s older, he’s into harder drugs, and he’s in more trouble.That trouble comes to a head one tragic night on a rooftop when Addison is shot by the police as Clay stands just a few steps away. Addison wasn’t armed. He didn’t deserve to die. But was he completely innocent? And what will prove more difficult for Clay—living a lie, or facing the truth?

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
" ...a readable narrative crackling with street slang, and complex personal and societal issues that teen readers will passionately engage. "
Children's Literature - Amie Rose Rotruck
After making some bad choices, Clay's parents enrolled him in a drug program and school for troubled teens. Now preparing for the GED, an old familiar face comes back into Clay's life—his cousin Addison. Clay has not seen Addison for years because of a family disagreement, but he has ended up in the same program. While the severity of their offenses differ from each other (Clay was caught smoking pot by his parents, while Addison was dealing crack), the two renew their friendship. Shortly after they are reunited, Addison is shot by cops on a rooftop as Clay stands nearby. While Addison was playing around and pretending his wallet was a gun (thus leading the officers to believe he was armed), Clay is pressured into saying that Addison was trying to show his ID. Clay immediately wishes he could take back the lie, but the situation becomes more and more complicated than he can handle. Volponi weaves a tale of teenagers and social issues in a very gritty and realistic manner.
VOYA
Like many students, Clay slacked off in school once he began smoking dope. Now in a drug treatment program at Daytop, Clay is staying clean and studying for the GED exam. But when his cousin Addison enters the program, he is still peddling drugs. While Addison and Clorox, another Daytopper, are shooting dice with Addison winning, the cops scatter the players. Later the cousins spot Clorox and pursue him for the unpaid gambling debt. Ending up on the roof of the building, they are catching their breath when they hear footsteps. Addison, thinking it is Clorox, takes out his wallet and holding it like a gun shouts, "Bam! Ba-." But it is the police, and answering shots kill Addison. Politician Spiers plays the race card to further his own agenda while Clay, the sole witness, cannot muster the courage to speak out. This turmoil mirrors another-his ongoing fear of a nearby guard dog. At the end, Clay confronts both and takes a major step toward his manhood. In spite of minor plot weaknesses-the awkward interjection of the dog attack-this novel is thought provoking. The use of racial slurs, sexual references, and expletives, including the "F" word, are not gratuitous in this inner city setting. Councilman Spiers and his posturing are also, alas, familiar. Hope for future understanding, however, surfaces in the remorse of the white cop and certainly in Clay's agonizing battle for his personal voice. Purchase for older teens and mature reluctant readers. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2006, Viking, 208p., Ages 15 to Adult.
—Barbara Johnston
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Clay, 17, a pot abuser, and his cousin Addison, 18, a crack dealer, both attend Daytop, a day-treatment program in New York City. At one time close, then separated by a family feud, the teens are now working through their problems together. Their parents have just begun to put their dispute behind them when Clay sees Addison shot by the police on the rooftop of the projects where he lived and the incident becomes the focal point of a campaign for racial justice. The pace of the story slows a little just before the shooting, but quickly picks up as the community rallies around the perceived injustice. Delving into the psychological trauma of Clay and the comparison of how he and Addison's younger brother deal with the killing, the author gives readers a realistic look at individuals, family dynamics, and moral dilemmas. The raw language is in keeping with the story's events. Parallels can be drawn between this fast-paced novel and Walter Dean Myers's Monster (HarperCollins, 1999), and a classroom unit could easily be developed about the treatment of minorities within the U.S. justice system. The many facets of life in the projects are revealed through excellent character development, which enables this novel to shine.-Dylan Thomarie, Johnstown High School, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Clay arrives at his special drug treatment center/high school one morning to discover his estranged cousin Addison has joined the program. Since their mothers' rift, the boys have spent no time together, and Clay's cautious renewal of their friendship gradually builds with the knowledge that Addison has no intention of dropping his dealing, much less his addictions. Teachers, students and the families seem fairly ordinary until tragedy strikes, with Clay becoming a pawn in the politics and grief of those around him. Trying to save Darrell, Addison's younger brother becomes the impetus for Clay to face his own bogeymen the same way he takes on the menacing neighborhood dog that has been terrifying him almost daily. Less cynical than Volponi's first novel, Black and White (2005), this is still discussable for its handling of moral choices and the evasion of responsibility by our society's need to reduce everything to fit our preconceptions. The symbolism is a little too obvious and the characters somewhat stock, but this second work follows closely in the steps of the first. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
"This is a thoughtfully crafted and deceptively simple story that knits together a high-interest plot, a readable narrative…and complex personal and societal issues that teen readers will passionately engage." -Booklist, starred review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142408445
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
05/17/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
343,139
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.63(d)
Lexile:
780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
A readable narrative crackling with street slang, and complex personal and societal issues that teen readers will passionately engage. (Booklist, starred review)

Meet the Author

Paul Volponi is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult novel Black & White. From 1992 to 1998, he taught adolescents on Rikers Island in New York City to read and write. Mr. Volponi worked at a day treatment center like Daytop teaching students and helping them prepare for the GED. Mr. Volponi lives in New York City.

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