Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Beaufrand, Mary Jane. 2010. THE RIVER. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316041683. [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
Ronnie is not happy with her family's move to a small town in Oregon to run a “bed and breakfast.” She finds that running is a way to cope with all the changes in her life. One of the friends she has made is an eight-year-old neighbor, Karen, who becomes almost a younger sister to her and shows her the beauty of the countryside and the river. After Ronnie discovers Karen's body in the river, she becomes aware of a dangerous undercurrent in the peaceful town. When her closest friend Gretchen almost dies from meth addiction, Ronnie figures out that Karen's death is connected to Gretchen's addiction and sets out to discover what is going on. A budding romance also adds to the interest and intrigue.
This book is a tightly-woven mystery set in a quiet community. Beaufrand weaves the moods of the river with Ronnie's changing views of the community as she discovers people are not always what they seem to be. Add to it a little romance, strong friendships, and the teen angst of moving to a new community, and you have a ready-made teen pleaser.
Use for a high school genre study as this is a well-written traditional mystery with strong characters and plot. It would also be a good Teen Book Club selection.
Other mysteries for young adults:
Berk, Josh. THE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN. ISBN 9780375856990
Nitz, Kristin Wolden. SUSPECT. ISBN 9781561455430
By Janet Hilbun