Sunday, April 25, 2010

The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand Review

Book: The River 
Author: Mary Jane Beaufrand
Age: YA
Release date: February 10th, 2010
Pages: 224
Source: Publisher
Veronica Severance feels cut off from the world. Forced to move from the city to rural Oregon with her parents, she is haunted by loneliness and by the chilling sounds of the Santiam, the river that runs through her backyard.

Through the fog of isolation, Ronnie finds herself becoming close with Karen, a young girl who she babysits. But when she discovers Karen's body on the banks of the Santiam, the victim of a supposed accident, Ronnie feels compelled to uncover the truth.

As she becomes increasingly obsessed with solving Karen's death, Ronnie is led deeper and deeper into the woods surrounding the river and to the dark secret hidden within its midst.
Review: Not what I expected, but still didn't disappoint.

The novel starts off with a few so-and-so chapters that made me almost stop reading, but I pursued in hopes of an intriguing mystery. At times, Ronnie can be a bit frustrating narrator, because I really just wanted her to just open her eyes a bit and stop being so naive. It took awhile to really get to the point where Ronnie began to think that Karen's death was not accidental. Yet, once she starts feeling curious about the circumstances of Karen's death, the pace picks up. The story has some romance weaved into it, but I felt it was an unnecessary plot point (and I found the relationship a bit quick to develop). A few more secrets become a huge factor within the mystery of Karen's death, and I was quite surprised in the end with just how many mysteries were tying together.

The ending made it all worth it, because Beaufrand creates a nice big finish to wrap up all the mysterious loose ends floating about within the story. The River was thrilling, exciting, and had me nervous for quite a few chapters as I anxiously waited to discover the end.

Highlights: About halfway through the novel, the story finally gets interesting. Especially with the ending chapters, when all the suspense finally boils down to the big finish...spectacular and highly creepy. I couldn't tear myself away from all the suspense!

The characters are all pretty unique too, and their personalities seemed to shine. Yet, none of them steal the show away from our narrator, which is a very good thing.

Lowlights: The first chapter had me going "What is this?", as well as the next few. The first chapter seemed useless, and I was surprised when other "family" characters were introduced a few chapters later (I don't really know why, but it took me by surprise that they hadn't been introduced with the parents). Yet, as the story progressed, I started enjoying it more as well as the characters.

I also really wanted more drama, action, mystery...I just wanted the same feel of the middle/ending chapters to be dispersed throughout the entirety of the novel.

Yet, as a whole, The River is suspensful, shocking, and intriguing.



  1. This one sounds really intense!! I'm glad you enjoyed it, great review!!

  2. This story wasn't what I expected either although I did enjoy it.

    Also YES! I was so confused when other "family" members were introduced five or so chapters in. I had to go back and make sure I was reading things correctly.

  3. I am glad you hung in there.... I have had books like that where you start them and you have no idea what you are reading or where it is going...

    sounds like it was good read. :)

  4. I hadn't heard of this book but after reading your review I wanna check it out! :)