I have enjoyed many books by Will Hobbs, but Take Me to the River captivated my attention all the way. It has everything a reader of YA novels can enjoy: Adventure. Mystery. A dangerous kidnapping. And for river rafting fans, a great river journey impossible to forget. It's a coming of age story as well, since both Dylan and his cousin, Rio, are forced to grow up in a hurry.
This review is a reposting of my review from Sacramento Book Review. Please visit that site, as well as San Francisco Book Review, and enjoy a reading feast of reviews in every genre by a variety of reviewers. You'll want to bookmark those sites.
When Dylan heads for the tiny ghost town of Terlingua, Texas, he’s expecting a week of canoeing on the Rio Grande with his uncle and his cousin, Rio. Dylan's uncle makes his living guiding canoe trips on the river. But, on arrival, Dylan learns his uncle is in Alaska on a river job since the local economy is suffering.
Dylan stays with Rio, though, and the two boys decide to take the river trip alone. Both are experienced canoeists. Still, the part of the river they are navigating is dangerous at best, and soon after they set off, Hurricane Dolly is on her way to meet them. Even more frightening dangers await them when they meet up with a murderous gangster who has kidnapped a young boy after a deadly shoot-out.
Hobbs’s writing winds and soars and drops and crashes like the river itself, as the boys navigate rapids, rocks, and hidden debris–all while struggling against additional flooding from the storm and worrying about the gunman’s growing impatience. Every bend in the river, every cave, every cliff-side is rendered distinct. This book takes you on the ride of your life, with a guide who knows his rivers.