Thursday, January 28, 2016

River Runs Deep by Jennifer Bradbury- ADVISABLE

Bradbury, Jennifer. River Runs Deep, 336 pgs. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015. $16.99. Language: G, Violence: PG, Content: G. Elias is suffering from consumption. His family has sent him to live in a community with others who have tuberculosis in a section of Mammoth Cave. There is a doctor there who is using different kinds of trial methods to help heal those who have the disease. At twelve years old, he is the youngest patient and Elias is bored, homesick, and lonely until a mysterious visitor comes to his hut and piques his interest. After Elias is encouraged to travel the cave with the guides (slaves owned by the doctor), he does some of his own sneaking around and uncovers a group of runaway slaves. He decides it is important to help keep the secret of the hidden group. This becomes a problem when one of the patients begins asking Elias questions and tries to find the runaway slaves for his own financial gain. I really enjoyed this book. The content was really unique, but also contained themes that younger readers will definitely engage with and be curious about, such as separation from family, slavery, and self discovery. I was really impressed with the way the lead character scrutinizes his feelings and knowledge about slavery and works through the process as the reader tags along, so that we can really see how he evolves to develop his own attitude and opinion about it. The book is well-paced and intriguing. I was really pleased with the historical content and the quality of the story. EL, MS -ADVISABLE. Reviewed by: Shay, School Librarian

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