Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 13 to 18
- Grade: 9 to 12
- Reading age: 7 to 10
In the middle of the night, five teens break into a small-town high school to protest the decision to close the school and move them to a big city school. Led by Bilan, whose experience with the Arab Spring fired a passion to peacefully fight against injustice, the Gang of Five occupy their old school. The local police chief and the town quietly cheer them on. When the school board calls in a security firm to break up their occupation using any means necessary, including force, the Five have to decide how far they will go to show their outrage at having no control over decisions that affect their lives.
About the author
A former elementary school principal, school district consultant, teacher and journalist, in England, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick, Robert Rayner now spends his time writing and teaching music. He is the author of three adult novels, nine young adult novels, and three teen novels. His stories have been shortlisted for the Ann Connor Brimer Children’s Literature Prize and (four times) for the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award, and five of them have been included in the Canadian Children’s Book Centre annual ‘Best Books’ list. He lives on the Magaguadavic River in St. George, New Brunswick.
"I thought this book was very clever in the way it used the students stand in at a school in Canada and compared it with the Arab uprising... I would recommend this book as an excellent read especially for the teenage and young adult group as it will show them an alternative to all the anger and rebellion which is too often on the news."
"The book is easy to read, it's suitable for both teenagers and those who are learning English? The gang is made up of very different characters, which allows every type of reader to identify with the story."
"Works nicely as a hi-lo, with an engaging set of diverse characters, a quick-moving plot, and a realistic if somewhat unsatisfying ending."
"This text includes a diversity of characters that are brought together for the common purpose of protesting injustice. The novel is divided by character perspectives and, therefore, allows some latitude in the writing. The novel has notes of the film Breakfast Club though with very sharp edges. The content would be suitable for upper grades and relies on the reader to suspend disbelief as the story closes.
The strongest part of Riot School is the author's illustration of the volatile world of teenage hormones and angst. Writing to encourage student voice is admirable and necessary..."
"As with the other Sidestreets books, it's short and straightforward making it easily recommendable to tweens and reluctant readers with the content and characters that even older teens can enjoy it."
"The book was really awesome with a unique and captivating plot, strong characters and well delivered mystery. I really hope for a sequel. I loved it and would recommend it to everyone."
"Extremely well written, I found myself rooting for the "Gang of five" to overcome the petty ideas that so many people think are the right ones. Pertinent and brave, excellent writing."
"A solid and thoughtful entry in the Lorimer Sidestreets series."