REVIEW: The River’s Edge, by Tina Sears ****Four and a half stars. Outstanding read.
A true-to-life coming of age story with a strong theme of survival from a first time novelist. This is a read one is likely never to forget and will resonate with many female readers who have experienced similar tragedies. Chris is thirteen when she loses her family, her security and innocence. Her dad, a man she describes as: reliable as a fart in a windstorm, has left and her mother is unable to cope or care for Chris and so she is dumped off on the door step of an estranged brother and his family in rural Ohio. While Chris struggles to understand what has happened to her happy life she is faced with all of the growing concerns of a teenage girl and some things a young woman should never have to endure. She meets a young boy, falls in love, and before she can embrace the tenderness of his love, the promise of her youth is swept away by a monster living under the same roof of her new home. It eloquently catalogs a harrowing experience and its aftermath that destroys a young girl’s dreams and causes her to keep a terrible secret to herself that may destroy the remains of her hopes for a family. One will applaud Chris for rising above the sediment on the bottom of life’s river to grow into a mature young woman. The story deals with a sensitive subject and theme that used to be taboo in literature and is cutting edge in today’s Young Adult market. The prose is engaging and filled with colloquial and colorful metaphors that place you into the shoes of a budding teen growing up in the rural south of the 1970’s and uprooted prematurely and thrust into an adventure on the river’s edge. As a former teacher of pre-teens, I highly recommend this book to become required reading in all middle school reading classes. As a reader parent and woman I applaud Ms Sears for her gallant effort to expose a serious problem in our society and encourage a discourse among teens and adults to eradicate the dangers that lurk at the River’s Edge. BRAVO!