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The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand

The River (edition 2010)

by Mary Jane Beaufrand (Author)

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865246,964 (3.25)None
Teenager Ronnie's life is transformed by the murder of a ten-year-old neighbor for whom she babysat, and who had helped Ronnie adjust to living at a country inn on the banks of the Santiam River in Hoodoo, Oregon.
Title:The River
Authors:Mary Jane Beaufrand (Author)
Info:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2010), Edition: 1, 224 pages
Collections:Your library

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The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand


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Escaping city life and stress Veronica's family moves to rural Oregon to run a bed and breakfast. While they escaped the treadmill existence of the rat race city life, Ronnie's family learns that rural America is rife with danger.

When 13 year old Ronnie finds the body of her eight year old friend, face down in the swift current of the Santian river, her life is forever changed.

Starting with action, the book winds down to boring middle, then, like the uncertain river and the evil crime perpetrated there, it rapidly swirls, twists and turns.

Guardedly recommended ( )
1 vote Whisper1 | Jan 9, 2011 |
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

Moving the family to a tiny town in Oregon was supposed to create a safer, simpler life for the Severance family. Ronnie's dad was a lawyer in the big city, but nerves and stress have him heavily medicated for depression. Mom has everyone working to revitalize an old inn she believes will provide income for the family, and something a bit less stressful for her husband to do. Whatever decisions were made by her parents, Ronnie feels left out and totally out of her element in Hoodoo, Oregon.

Ronnie spends most of her free time running. It occupies her and allows her to spend time along the river, the only attraction in the community that interests her. When she is not out running or busy helping her mother around the inn, she gets roped into babysitting for a nearby family. It's not really her thing, so she's quite surprised when an odd friendship forms between her and one of the children, a little girl named Karen.

Karen educates Ronnie in the ways of the countryside, especially the river and its wildlife and unpredictable beauty. Ronnie is amazed at the time she spends with the little girl, and how she comes to appreciate her new surroundings. Through Karen, Ronnie comes to know some of the locals like Ranger Dave, Gretchen, and Keith Spady. They are all people she will come to count on when tragedy strikes.

The day Ronnie discovers Karen's body in the river, her world is turned upside-down. The pint-sized adventurer was so accomplished at crossing the river on slippery rocks, and skipping stones across its waters, that it's hard to believe she met her end there. Ronnie feels like she failed her small friend when attempts to resuscitate her fail. Now, she is plagued with memories of their short time together - and a growing suspicion that her death may not have been an accident.

THE RIVER by Mary Jane Beaufrand is the story of an unusual friendship wrapped up in a mystery. Filled with frequent flashbacks of Karen's carefree days, Beaufrand weaves the stories of the two girls together. Other interesting characters and surprise twists will keep readers on their toes as they follow Ronnie's efforts to find justice for her friend. ( )
  GeniusJen | Dec 12, 2010 |
Despite The River starting off with a dramatic entry of a sudden death the storyline began to settle down and I had to crawl through the rest. From that point on it was a jumbled mess of a regular teen life with an abnormal connection to the river spirit. (Something that the author never fully explained on. Did Veronica have a sixth sense or was this all a delusion?) I had gone in expecting a mournful, heartbreaking, book of a death but instead gotten something…not that. Then we reached midway and came across Gretchen, another plot. I could not imagine the ties these two situations had, a river death and an illegal drug use? I was a bit peeved some might say—the author was clearly biting off more than she can chew.

Some chapters after that scene, Beaufrand did something I could only smile about, she connected these scenarios together. She then carried the reader through a monsoon of actions and emotions. A high stakes game of resolution, revenge, and a runway that lead almost to another death. I had devoured the last several chapters of the book in the time it took me to say “no way”. In spite of this I still did like not some elements of The River.

I had already mentioned the slow crawl of the book and the randomness which is where Tomas’s relationship with Veronica stands. While I accepted Beaufrand’s attempt to humor the story, it did little for the actual plot. I did, however, find it amusing and gave a chuckle here and there but ultimately felt that it distracted the reader from the essence of the book. I found Tomas’s relationship with Veronica cute and endearing but had a weak foundation. The author barely cemented their affection to the reader before thrusting them to a love cocoon. Although it ties in with Karen and some of the background information of the characters it stole some of the spotlight of the heaviness of the topic.

Overall: The River will surprise will the reader for sure. Expect a tale that is similar to that of Stephanie Kuehnert—raw and emotional at times ( )
  ylin.0621 | Feb 14, 2010 |
The River is an intricate web of love, lies, loss, obession, and crime that promises to be unforgettable. Veronica is a young woman trying to find her place in a new world. Having being uprooted from her home in rural Oregon; she now finds herself in a sleepy town full of mystery. She begins to find her place with the help of a young girl named Karen, although, when running one evening she comes across a body in the river which turns out to be that of her young friend. Unable to revive Karen's little body she is distraught with failure, and soon becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her young friend. Only this mission of redemption may prove to be more than she had hoped for when it appears there may have been more to the death of this young girl. The river in this story plays a large role, almost taking on a life of it own. Expect abrupt changes of direction in this story; nothing can be taken a face value. The twist are extreme and somewhat disorienting the story lacks smooth transition for these changes, but if you follow them through you will find yourself in masterful story that will leave you questioning your own personal safety.

**Special Thanks to Little Brown Books for Young Readers for the ARC
( )
  BookWhisperer | Dec 10, 2009 |
This was an ARC received at the American Library Association show in July 2009. The book isn't scheduled to publish until February 2010. Good thing...it could use some work.

Admittedly, I chose to read this book now as part of my 50 States Challenge (nicely covering Oregon). I was unaware that it was targeted to the teen market (even though it says right on the back of the ARC that it's for ages 15 and up), but that's OK, I've read a lot of teen literature, so I still feel I can critique it based on that.

The story focuses on "big city" teen from Portland (???) who moves to a more rural area to run an inn with her family and help her dad recover from a nervous breakdown. But all is not peaceful in the big wood, and Veronica flies through a series of events and emotions in a relatively short period of time. Death, drugs, love and cooking weave in and out. Although it all works, it does seem a bit chaotic as it ties together - and although that chaotic pace made it for a decent page turner in that regard, it pushes the rationality of whether this can fall under "realistic fiction".

But again, I need to emphasize this book is targeted to teens - and I am NOT a teen and in fact am a father of a pre-teen, so definitely NOT the target audience. Although I can envision some female teens relating to the "heroine" from this book, I can only say, "I weep for the future." Once you get past the leaps and falls of the events of the character, it boils down to a rather formulaic rift - teen girl doesn't do as she's told and trouble ensues. Kids, do what your parents tell you! (of course, if they did that, there would be far fewer teen fiction novels on the market)

Overall, it's a quick read, tame compared to many contemporary teen fiction entries on the market (in the depth of discussions on sex, drugs, etc), and worth a look.

Now, I will close with a comment on the writing style - something I don't normally do. I am NOT a writer, and I state that quite readily right up front, but I think this is her first book, and if she reads this review, she needs to hear this - LIGHTEN UP ON THE SIMILES. For about the first quarter of the book, there are so many similes, it actually becomes distracting. (on the first full page of text there are four). Once the story line gets a little more complicated, the similes tend to diminish drastically (or maybe I just got used to them), but they set the book off on the wrong track. Most of the similes/metaphors are light hearted with a humorous slant. This book ain't funny - and it's not supposed to be. Don't try so hard. ( )
1 vote pbadeer | Nov 2, 2009 |
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Teenager Ronnie's life is transformed by the murder of a ten-year-old neighbor for whom she babysat, and who had helped Ronnie adjust to living at a country inn on the banks of the Santiam River in Hoodoo, Oregon.

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