Wild River

Wild River

Author: P.J. Peterson

Publication: Delacorte Press, 2009

Pages: 128

Overall Rating:  bth_3-star-rating_zps73bdba73[1]                      

Rating for Action: bth_25_zps13f4f4eb[1]

Quantity of Action: bth_3-star-rating_zps73bdba73[1]

Age Category: 9-12

Brief Summary: Ryan’s older brother, Tanner, takes him on a kayaking and camping trip.  Ryan doesn’t want to go – he’d much rather stay home and play video games – but no one refuses Tanner.  They get in an accident out on the river that leaves Tanner unconscious and in a grave danger.  He needs a doctor, but they’re in the middle of nowhere, on a river with high cliffs blocking the way back up to the road.  Somehow Ryan, who’s not remotely athletic or outdoorsy, has to find the strength and courage to save his brother.

Age of Main Character: 12

What I Liked the Most: Ryan’s character felt very authentic.  The challenges that he faced and the way he overcame them seemed right on target for a non-athletic twelve year old caught in a life-threatening situation.  Ryan wasn’t superman, he was just an average kid forced to push beyond his limits in order to save his brother.

The situations that he encounters along the way – from cliffs, to rapids, to a bear – were authentic and well written.  Peterson really made me feel like I was on the river right next to Ryan.

What I Liked the Least: This was a very short book, more of a novella really.  It took me no more than an hour to read, and I am not a fast reader.   It was a well done story, but because it was so short it lacked a real punch.  It felt like Peterson could have done a lot more with this book if she’d put Ryan and Tanner a little further away from civilization and created a trip that lasted several days instead of several hours.

How Good was the Action?  Pretty descent.  As I said above, I often felt like I was on the river with Ryan.  That said, this was not pulse-pounding action and there were not many times when I felt like Ryan was in a serious danger.  I never really believed that his life was on the line.

How Engaging was the Story?   For a book with almost no dialogue, Peterson did a good a good job of keeping me engaged.  I liked Ryan’s character and wanted to know what was going to happen to him.  And I liked following the process that Ryan went through each time he had to figure out how to overcome a new obstacle.  That said, even though the book took no more than an hour to read I ended up putting it aside four or five times to do stuff around the house, so that hour was spread over a couple of days.

Overall Assessment:  This was a good story, but in all honesty if felt like survival-light.  I enjoyed following Ryan’s adventure, but I wasn’t glued to the page and I never had any real doubts that he would succeed.

Profanity: None

Sex: None

Violence: None

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