Hobbs, Will. 1991.
DOWNRIVER. Laurel-Leaf Books: New
York: ISBN: 0440226732.
is a suspenseful adventure novel packed with fun and excitement. School Library Journal states that it is, “Exquisitely plotted, with nail-biting suspense and excitement."
The story takes place on the Colorado River down through
the Grand Canyon and is told through first person narration by Jessie, the young protagonist. Jessie has been sent by her father to Discovery Unlimited, an outdoors education program
where she is to learn to meet problems, make responsible decisions, and work towards becoming a successful adult. At the camp Jessie
meets seven other problem kids and they begin to call themselves “Hoods in the Woods.” Their leader, Al plans for them to white water raft down the San Juan River, but
the group decides that rafting the Colorado will be heady and wild. They steal Al’s van and equipment, drive to Lee’s Ferry, sneak past the park rangers, and inflate
their rafts. With Troy, the group’s
reckless leader, seven of the eight boys and girls begin their foolish journey down the river. Heather, the eighth girl, decided to split. The group begins
to have the time of their life, but as the rapids increase in strength, danger and challenges become greater at every turn.
Troy, whom at first displayed strong leadership qualities, is becoming more and
more frightening. Jessie
must take on a new and demanding role if the expedition is to survive all the while the dangers they face will hold you in
suspense. The Bulletin refers to DOWNRIVER
as, “Vivid, fast-paced, and convincing... .Hobbs makes the group dynamics
compelling....Jessie is a tough heroine in a genuinely exciting story." The elements
of adventure, danger, and mystery will appeal to a wide variety of readers while exploring several important themes including trust, friendship, and survival.
DOWNRIVER is a wildly exciting adventure novel that all young adults should experience.