by Will Hobbs
184 pages of suspenseful whitewater adventure, fast paced and flowing with excitement for intermediate and middle readers
Dylan has packed his bag. At fourteen he’s flying from to Asheville, North Carolina to Alpine, Texas and then taking a bus to Terlingua Ghost Town. His long lost uncle and cousin live there. Dylan’s never met them before and he’s looking forward to his first chance. His uncle leads wilderness adventure trips. Dylan’s been to camp and learned about canoeing, rafting and white water, but this is his first trip out west to give some serious rapids a try.
After hours of grueling travel Dylan arrived at the hotel where he is supposed to meet his cousin and uncle. They’re not there, but they’ve left a message to hitchhike 80 miles to meet at a ghost town restaurant. Dylan has to decide: call home and bring the trip to an end or take a chance – a big chance. He takes the chance. Fortunately he arrives without harm but again the unexpected happens. His uncle isn’t there. He has suddenly been called away to Alaska. His fifteen-year-old cousin Rio still wants to do a rafting trip. Again Dylan has to decide: call home and end he trip, let his mom and dad know no adult is around, or agree to a smaller canyon trip. He agrees and sticks with his decision even after they are warned about Hurricane Dolly and even after they see suspicious Black Hawk helicopters flying up and down the river.
The first part of their trip is uneventful. The water is calm and low. The boys have fun getting to know each other. It kind of cool to know you know what to do in the wilderness. It’s clear Rio has had a lot of experience, but Dylan can hold his own as well. One night, while were setting up camp, two figures appear – man and seven-year-old boy. Both of them are in bad shape. The boy has red marks on his hands as if his wrists had been tied, his head is cut and his hands are scatter with cactus needles. They claim one story, but Dylan and Rio don’t believe it is true. They’d like to help, but something tells them to be wary. They end up sharing some supplies and even give the strangers their tent before heading off along the river toward the Mexican border.
The predicted bad weather arrives. Torrential rain comes, filling the river and turning their placid trip into a harrowing challenge for survival. On top of that they come upon the strangers again. The man is bad news – but the boy must be helped. Only Dylan and Rio can help him, but how? Dylan and Rio are engaged in a suspenseful struggle you’ll be racing to the end to see who comes off the river alive? Take Me to the River is an exciting ride to the very end. It’s full of details and description that make you want to raft the Big Bend River and explore the canyons – just not in a hurricane. Read Take Me to the River. You’ll be glad you did.