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River Thunder Mass Market Paperback – February 9, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up. The premise is that the cast from Downriver (Atheneum, 1991) has been asked to work as interns by "Discovery Unlimited" owner Al, rejoining him for a raft trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Their joyful reunion at the launch site is stressed almost to the breaking point when they find out that Troy, the manipulative, buffed, bad boy who nearly sank their earlier escapade, has bankrolled this trip, and that Al is not involved at all. Setting aside misgivings about Troy's duplicity, they row off, settling into a realistic rhythm of river work, problem solving, play, and stress management. The characters are interesting individuals who have changed in mostly positive ways since their first trip together. Jessie gains confidence and knowledge with each challenge. Troy's problems escalate with the rising level of the water, and it's gradually revealed that he has stalked Jessie throughout the previous summer, obsessed with making his fantasy of a relationship with her take shape. The climactic resolution with Troy comes just before they plummet through Lava Falls, which, if predictably plotted, is thrillingly told. The culture of the commercial canyon runners is aptly described. From the raft-eating big drop on the cover to the author's informative note at the end, the vivid descriptions deliver high-volume excitement sure to entice many readers into booking a ride on any subsequent sequels.?Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Jr. High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Hobbs (Ghost Canoe, p. 557, etc.) reunites the characters of Downriver (1991) for this rapids-shooting adventure. Jessie and her adopted sister, Star, tough-talking Rita, macho man Pug, and later, wisecracking Adam all arrive ready to raft down the Grand Canyon's Colorado River, presumably at the invitation of Al, a tour outfitter; unfortunately, when the handsome and charismatic Troy also shows up, the teens discover that they've all been duped. Troy seeks to make amends for ruining their rafting the previous year, and so has made all the arrangements and paid for the group to go downriver again. Wary at first, the teens agree, and in no time they're shooting through curlers, suckholes, and rooster tails in a pulse-pounding narrative. Jessie, despite her fear, steers a raft down the river's 160 rapids in record-high water caused by a rough winter and careless management of damn spillage. Hobbs's familiarity with whitewater rafting provides authenticity, and while this bunch knows their sport, they nevertheless wind up in the soup more than once. While the crisis point of the novel seems a bit too altruistic--the neurotic Troy follows his better impulses and saves Rita from drowning--the story of these disparate youths coming together for an adventure that risks their lives and strengthens their hearts is ultimately uplifting. (Fiction. 12-14) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf (February 9, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440226813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440226819
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

WILL HOBBS is the author of eighteen exciting outdoor adventure novels for upper elementary, middle school and young adult readers, as well as two picture book stories. Seven of his novels have been named Best Books for Young Adults by the American Library Association, and Ghost Canoe, Will's first mystery, won the Edgar Allan Poe national award for Best Young Adult Mystery. The ALA's list of the "100 Best Young Adult Books of the 20th Century" includes two of Will's titles: Far North and Downriver.

A graduate of Stanford University and a former reading and language arts teacher, Will lives with his wife, Jean, in Durango, Colorado. Visit Will's website at www.willhobbsauthor.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Travis Van Zyl on May 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
River Thunder is a very good and exciting book. The book takes place on the Colorado River for 14 days. A group of friends met at the river to go on the best journey ever. Throughout the book it takes you through countless rapids second by second. It has crashes, thrill rides, and relationships. The best part is where they go over the lava rapid, the most deadly rapid at three times its normal force. It's got everything in it that you could want: mystery, excitement, and adventure. It's a book for people who like a good mystery and who like cool, at the edge of your seat, thrill rides in your mind. This is an awesome book that really sucks you in.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A sophomore in Whitehall, Wisconsin on January 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
River Thunder, written by Will Hobbs, is a great book for readers who are addicted to adventure and love fiction stories. I think the author laid this story out very well. It is an exciting adventure that takes place at the river, by the Grand Canyon, where Troy thinks he has a chance to prove to the others that he has changed. Changed from what? Troy and his friends, Jessie, Adam, Star, Rita, and Pug, all try to believe him but end up discovering other things. This is a group of kids who went to have a good time, but end up meeting the challenge of their lives. I'll leave you with that information and hope you take time to read this book. I myself am not an adventurous person, but my friends like adventure stories and they enjoyed this book; I hope you will too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Teel VINE VOICE on May 23, 2007
Format: Audio Cassette
I checked River Thunder out from the library, not realizing it was a "young adult" book. Despite being twenty years older than the intended audience, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. River Thunder follows the summer adventure camp follies of Jessie who is struggling to get along with her father. She finds herself in the woods of Colorado with a group of semi-delinquents sent to recover, or grow up, through the hardships of life in the woods. The kids bond and blossom while rebelling against the quasi sadistic group leader Al. They eventually steal his van and gear and set off to raft the Colorado river through the Grand Canyon without him. The gang finds themselves traversing increasingly risky rapids, and the book manages to be suspenseful in a backdrop of beautiful, desert nature. I found this a welcome treat after having listened to too many suspense novels centered around urban crime and murder. The book manages to be full of action and suspense without resorting to violence, and a world which is not human is what teaches the characters humility and leaves them with new found maturity. The teens eventually learn lessons, but author Will Hobbs manages to keep them from feeling trite.

Audiobook performer Christina Moore does a masterful job which I believe is hard to do when asked to speak as a cast of teens. She manages to sound authentically youthful without trying too hard to sound young and hip. She seamlessly moves, for example, from speaking as an angst ridden teen girl, to being a withdrawn Native American youth, to being a male class clown, without skipping a beat. Each voice embodies the individuality of the character without any regard for Moore's true gender or age. River Thunder will please young and "old" adults alike.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marie Dever on November 19, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I loved Downriver, and liked the extension River Thunder. The second book was just as exciting as the first, with all the same elements that i loved about the first one except Freddy. I only wish Freddy could have been brought back as well. He was my favorite.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Teenagers are always going through drastic changes, especially mental changes. These changes are hard to cope with sometimes. The book, River Thunder by Will Hobbs, demonstrates and cements how the changes that teenagers go through affects their peers in even life-threatening situations. Hobbs describes and shows these changes and effects in a unique way. Hobbs' familiarity with whitewater rafting provides an adventure filled trip full of serious problems, disagreements, and major decisions. There was never a moment that was boring. The six teens, Pug, Rita, Jessie, later Adam, Troy, and Star are back together for another trip down the Grand Canyon's Colorado River. Hobbs always kept me reading on, never wanting to stop. The decisions that Jessie, a sixteen-year-old girl with much to learn in life, has to make are more meaningful than most decisions anyone in life makes. Making the decisions only build the suspense and excitement. When Jessie decides to go on the trip, she begins to wish she never had. The Colorado River's water level is astronomically high and the whitewater rapids are totally unpredictable. Star, Jessie's adopted sister, and Kit, an experienced river rafter, provide Jessie with important background information, but in the end her choices are totally up to her. Troy is the hardest thing for Jessie to get by. She never got over Troy from the beginning, and now she must face his loneliness and lack of love. Troy is so determined to get Jessie back, but when she objects, he "blows" up and almost ruins the rest of the trip for everyone. I recommend this book for everyone, especially teenagers and young adults, because it is an incredible book that shows six teenagers learning how to work together and get over things in the past.Read more ›
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