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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Huckleberry Finn on the Hudson, July 14, 2008
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This review is from: Ten Mile River (Hardcover)
Paul Griffin nails this authentic yarn* about Ray and José, two teenagers who try to stay one step ahead of the law while living the high life in their shack by the Hudson river.

* "There was things he stretched, but mainly he told the truth."

They are torn between their enjoying their independent, criminal life and the civilizing influences of Yolanda, a Puerto Rican hair dresser, who offers them longer term, legitimate opportunities.

Ray is a thoughtful and complex character. As the novel opens, he is happy go lucky, naïve, but intelligent. As the story develops, he shows us his compassionate and moral sides. He speaks ambivalently about his own crimes, but the question is whether he will act on his words and change his ways.

In the end, as a result of his poor choices, he loses the people that are everything to him. Doors shut in front of him. Alone finally, Ray sets off in a new direction, like Huckleberry Finn lighting out for the Territory. We can't be certain that Ray has learned his lesson once and for all, and we are not told what happens to him, but we have reason to be hopeful.

Ten Mile River is 21st century Twain: the dialect, the close escapes, fishing for their dinner, a near-drowning, even the floating dead bodies. This one belongs in a high school curriculum.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, teen or not-so-teen., August 16, 2008
By 
Joey Zanca (orange, ca USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ten Mile River (Hardcover)
I bought this book for my teenage son, but I started reading it and couldn't put it down. It's a wonderful story of friendship and survival. As a mother, my heart breaks for how different the Jose and Ray's lives may have been if they had been born to caring parents. Paul Griffin did a superb job of bringing these boys alive to me and capturing my heart. Great first book. Keep 'em coming! I guess I'll let my son read it now...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richie's Picks: TEN MILE RIVER, July 7, 2008
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This review is from: Ten Mile River (Hardcover)
"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 manna."

We never do learn how fourteen-year-old Ray got there -- how he ended up parentless or how he had originally fallen in with fifteen-year-old Jose. The pair are homeless-but-not-exactly-homeless in New York City: They have discovered and fixed up an old abandoned railroad stationhouse hidden deep in the woods of a West Harlem park. They've tapped into a streetlight for electricity and into the hub of a nearby apartment building for high speed cable service. They've dragged home an assortment of used-but-working appliances other people have thrown away and have stolen themselves a big screen TV. They've also attracted a pack of sweet, abandoned pit bulls. Occasionally they have to temporarily abandon ship when random pipe heads stumble upon the stationhouse and briefly hunker down to cook their methamphetamine.

But all in all, "As long as they kept a low profile they could do what they wanted, and they did."

Ray is a large, overweight, contemplative, and compassionate kid. He is also an obsessive reader and collector of information. Jose is the opposite -- small and ripped, a player, and a master of malapropisms. He's a functionally illiterate know-it-all adolescent hoodlum who is always scheming and never worrying "about what rotten thing might happen next."

Being that they are running together, Ray inevitably gets dragged along in the wake of Jose's dangerous and criminal schemes despite being offered a way out of that way of life by the proprietor of Yolanda's Braid Palace who, with her teenage niece, has seen the saving grace in Ray.

"'Four hours ago I'm promisin her I'm-a go clean, here I am again, hidin in the park bushes, lookin to boost an eighty-five-thousand-dollar ride that's gonna be used as an escape vehicle for drug runners, a hit maybe?"

TEN MILE RIVER is in equal parts grit and heart. A spectacular first novel by screenwriter Paul Griffin, it's got all the right stuff to make it a major favorite of adolescent reluctant readers and other fans of contemporary YA fiction. Readers will care about and will long continue to wonder about this sensitive beast of a teen who must learn to steer his own ship as he seeks to understand what it takes to become a man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It touched my heart!, June 20, 2008
This review is from: Ten Mile River (Hardcover)
Remember Holden Caulfield trying in vain to remove the graffiti from the bathroom stalls in CATCHER IN THE RYE? Imagine him today as a homeless teen in NYC......a sensitive youth in an insensitive world just trying to survive.

That is the world Paul Griffin creates for us in TEN MILE RIVER, the first book by this promising new author. It's tough, raw, harsh, and unlike anything I have ever encountered living in the suburbs.

However, having spent a summer as a teacher at South Philadelphia HS, the book rings true for me. I only wish it had been part of my curriculum! The students would love it. Teachers pay attention; this is the "hook" you have been looking for in your classroom! It's a quick read filled with folks you learn to care about while exposing you to some rough realities of homeless living.

Ray and Jose have survival skills that would make Outward Bound grads envious. Who among us could do as well?

My only disappointment came when the book ended. I want to know more about these characters!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten Mile River, June 24, 2008
This review is from: Ten Mile River (Hardcover)
My first thought when I finished this book was that I need to get a copy for my teenage nephew who doesn't like to read. Even he wouldn't be able to help himself from getting immersed in the fascinating and crazy world that Jose and Ray inhabit. The sharply written dialogue really brings the characters to life and you can't help but root for them. I couldn't believe it when I got to the end, I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I am looking forward to the next novel from this talented author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book for teenagers, June 20, 2008
This review is from: Ten Mile River (Hardcover)
I'm buying this book for all the numerous teenage boys I know in this city who don't like to read. They will no doubt be fascinated by Ray and Jose's street smarts and their story of survival and adventure. Best of all, I can feel good knowing I gave them a book that is well written and full of heart! Can't wait to see more from this author...he's obviously got a long career ahead of him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Noel Worth Paddling Through, August 13, 2008
This review is from: Ten Mile River (Kindle Edition)
Paul Griffin ushered me into a world within a world. And what a guide he is! TEN MILE RIVER is an absolutely splendid tale about 2 best friends who test themselves and one another during a volatile time in their lives. Ray is a sensitive, selfless teen who possesses a rich intelligence, a hopeful romantic, who sees everything with a poet's filter. Jose lives in the moment, relishes beauty by revealing his skin and playing the ultimate player. Ray is the exhale while jose inhales. What perfect foils this fine author sculpted. This kind of pairing is as indelible as Tom and Huck, George and Lenny, or Felix and Oscar. Both guys are truly endearing. You savor their freedom (jacking cars, fantasizing about women, living like stray mutts without rules or fences). At the same time, you pity them for they live in a bubble that will inevitably burst. Their lives are literally and figuratively anchored ashore. they are eager to paddle upstream yet afraid of the depths below. Isn't that what adolescence is all about? This story is about coming to terms with yourself, your closest of friends, and with a fleeting, precious episode in life...transforming into a newly hatched adult.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Story of New York, July 3, 2008
This review is from: Ten Mile River (Hardcover)
Ten Mile River tells the compelling story of two street kids from upper Manhattan, and the challenges they face growing up on the fringes of New York City. Ray and Jose face growing up together, as they deal with dangers from gangs, poverty and homelessness. But will love of beautiful Trini drive them apart? Each seeks to come to terms with these and other issues with a mixture of humor, resignation and ultimately hope.

The plot moves quickly; Paul Griffin's dialogue will ring very true to most people, as it did to this NYC high school teacher. This book was written with humor, empathy and the perspective of one who knows today's kids and the problems they face. However, Mr. Griffin does so without patronizing or demeaning today's young people. Under his hand, the characters become quite real. I found myself laughing out loud more than once during an awkward moment of young love. And I came very close to tears at other points. It's that kind of a book.

And it's the kind of book that young people can relate to; and it's an easy but compelling read for young people of all ages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awsome Book About Homeless Kids, December 24, 2008
By 
Jamey (In my imagination) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ten Mile River (Hardcover)
"Ten Mile River" by Paul Griffin is an awesome book about two teen boys who are homeless in New York City. They just got out of juvenile jail and steal to get by. They are best friends. Ray is big, fat and not good looking but super-smart. Jose is good looking and super-cool, he's the leader. They meet a girl who they both like and who tries to get them to change. But how can they change and still keep their freedom and their friendship?

This book is TOTALLY AWESOME. The characters are so real and cool. The story moves fast and the dialogue is all hip hop slang. Its a fun-to-read but serious book too. Its very funny in parts and very sad in other parts. Teachers could make their class read this book but teens will like this book on their own too. The only thing, there is some sex talk in this book so it's not for little kids.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly Good, August 15, 2008
By 
Trisha (Indiana, U.S.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ten Mile River (Hardcover)
I didn't think I'd enjoy Ten Mile River, but it swept me away. Jose and Ray's story is funny at times, tearworthy at others.

No parents, no school, no future. That's how Jose and Ray are living. They've been in foster homes and juvie, and they prefer the streets. They do some little cons to get by, and steal whatever they can't afford to buy.

I loved Jose, because I see so many young guys just like him: attitude, arrogance and an apptitude for crime. Ray, on the other hand, is soft - not just his body, but his heart. He's constantly reading and absorbing information.

The other thing that stands out about this book is the loyalty between the boys. Even when they are throwing punches at each other, it's obvious that they consider themselves brothers and would die for one another.

Great read.
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Ten Mile River
Ten Mile River by Paul Griffin (Paperback - September 1, 2011)
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