[Book Review] The Riverman by Aaron Starmer
Title: The Riverman
Author: Aaron Starmer
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Date of Published: 18 March 2014
No. of Pages: 340
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Received from: the publisher via Netgalley
Every town has a lost child.
Alistair Cleary is the kid who everyone trusts. Fiona Loomis is not the typical girl next door. Alistair hasn’t really thought of her since they were little kids until she shows up at his doorstep with a proposition: she wants him to write her biography. What begins as an odd vanity project gradually turns into a frightening glimpse into the mind of a potentially troubled girl. Fiona says that in her basement, there’s a portal that leads to a magical world where a creature called the Riverman is stealing the souls of children. And Fiona’s soul could be next. If Fiona really believes what she’s saying, Alistair fears she may be crazy. But if it’s true, her life could be at risk. In this novel from Aaron Starmer, it’s up to Alistair to separate fact from fiction, fantasy from reality.
I requested this title because I was mesmerized by the cover, like usual. I just catched a glimpse on the description. I guess it’s just like any other children’s book, but I was wrong.
The Riverman is too gory for children. I don’t think violence, drugs, and a pinch of romance are suitable for 13 year-olds.
This book tells a tale of Alistair who won people’s trust. His early memory is when he saw a dead body of a missing child, Luke, on the river. Nine years later, something strange happened to him when his neighbor, Fiona, knocked on his door and asked him to write a story about her. Alistair frowned, thought the idea was bizarre.
Soon he realized that Fiona did not make up the stories.
She told Alistair that she had a secret passage to the magical world called Aquavania, where the stories are born. Fiona met other children, even crossing to their world and interact with some of the children there.
Strange things happened again. The number of missing children is increasing and Fiona knew some of them in Aquavina. According to Fiona, the Riverman stole the children’s soul and they would never come back to the Solid World.
This book is a page turner. Every chapter is so tensed that I really wanted to finish it in one night, but my eyes wouldn’t compromise.
I really like this book and how each character connects to one another. And there’s love among teens, jealousy, hatred, and misperceptions. We should not judge a person by his looks, which is true.
But I also put big question marks after I reached the laat page. I don’t know what happened to Kyle and Charlie, and Luke’s case is still a mystery. I heard it’s the first installment of a series (I really hope so).
What I like about this book is the setting. It’s the 80s when Choose Your Own Adventure novels were popular. I’m also curious about PB&J. I haven’t tried that one and I have no idea how it tastes like.
The Riverman brought back my childhood memories. Sorry for being a bit sentimental :’)
As an adult, I enjoyed reading this book and I will recommend it to other adults who like stories about children and their big imaginations. I think Neil Gaiman fans will enjoy The Riverman.
Looking forward to reading The Riverman #2.
The best thing I can tell you about a chick who lies a lot is this: there’s probably some messed-up stuff going on in her life (p. 50)
Life will sneak up on you sometimes. (p. 69)
You can’t change your mistakes. You can only try to make up for them. (p. 252)
And sometimes kids have to get up and go. (p. 262)
Sometimes what’s worse than people lying to you is people being too honest. (p. 269)
Creative minds like ours were the minds of aliens. (p. 280)
Until next time ^^