Friday, May 4, 2018

Review: The River Boy by Jessica Brown

by Jessica Brown
Middle Grade Historical
ages 8 to 12

A story of friendship and courage in 1909 Montana.
Nine-year-old Clara is worried about the lonely summer ahead of her. That's when she meets Josiah, a boy full of ideas and imagination. Soon they're writing a book together, traveling all over town and countryside to collect stories.
But as their adventure unfolds, Clara begins to learn how much gumption it takes to fight for an idea - and how much courage it takes to fight for a friend. Together, Josiah and Clara create a summer like never before.


Set it a rural life in 1909 in Montana, this is an inspiring read about friendship and determination.

Nine-year-old Clara is friends with everyone but still doesn't really feel like she fits in anywhere. Living on a ranch with her parents and two older brothers, she's often busy with chores. One day, while wandering out on her own, she meets Josiah sitting on a rock by the river, and he seems to have a lot in common with her. A close friendship forms quickly. They decided to write a type of book together, and soon find themselves facing unexpected problems and obstacles which will test their will power and friendship.

The author does a wonderful job at bringing these characters, the setting and the time period to life. Clara is a joy to follow. She's full of energy and has a golden heart as she faces problems which not only fit the past but modern day times as well. Josiah is a wonderful friend, who might come from a slightly different background than Clara, but still, the two make wonderful buddies. Readers will enjoy not only this glimpse back into history, but easily identify with both characters.

The writing is never overly descriptive and allows the story to continue through with a wonderful pace. The vocabulary and speech is also fitting to the setting, making it not only more authentic but allowing readers to come across some terms and phrases they may not recognize. The short length of the book won't scare away more reluctant readers, and is just right for the story. Warmth radiates from the pages as the characters demonstrate traits such as caring for others, helpfulness, trust and understanding.

And here she is. . .

Jessica Brown grew up in southeast Texas and now lives in the west of Ireland with her husband and son. With graduate degrees in English and writing, Jessica's writing has appeared in Relief journal, Dappled Things, Journal for Spiritual Formation and Soul Careand in the book Jane Austen and the ArtsShe is a regular contributor to the blog at Art House America and Duke University’s Faith and Leadership blog and also had the privilege of editing a book by Faustin Ntamushobora on forgiveness, Transformation rough the Different Other. In 2016, her novel for children The River Boy was released, and this year The Grace to Be Human, her nonfiction book for adults, is forthcoming with Kalos Press.  

You can follow her blog at her website,

1 comment:

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

This sounds like such a sweet book!