“The Riverman (The Riverman Trilogy #1)” by Aaron Starmer
Summary from Goodreads:
“To sell a book, you need a description on the back. So here’s mine: My name is Fiona Loomis. I was born on August 11, 1977. I am recording this message on the morning of October 13, 1989. Today I am thirteen years old. Not a day older. Not a day younger.”
Fiona Loomis is Alice, back from Wonderland. She is Lucy, returned from Narnia. She is Coraline, home from the Other World. She is the girl we read about in storybooks, but here’s the difference: She is real.
Twelve-year-old Alistair Cleary is her neighbor in a town where everyone knows each other. One afternoon, Fiona shows up at Alistair’s doorstep with a strange proposition. She wants him to write her biography. What begins as an odd vanity project gradually turns into a frightening glimpse into a clearly troubled mind. For Fiona tells Alistair a secret. In her basement there’s a gateway and it leads to the magical world of Aquavania, the place where stories are born. In Aquavania, there’s a creature called the Riverman and he’s stealing the souls of children. Fiona’s soul could be next.
Alistair has a choice. He can believe her, or he can believe something else…something even more terrifying.
- The story was a bit odd. I never fully connected with the characters.
- It was interesting trying to figure out what was ‘real’ and what was ‘fake’.
- I did like the idea of going to this land and having complete control over your world.
- I kind of liked Alistair’s rationalization for Aquavania. I don’t know how many 12-year-olds who would think crazy story could mean abuse. [I am glad it didn’t work out that way because that’s a really dark turn.]
- This is a children’s book but it’s definitely best for older kids. 11+?
- The big twist was shocking and a bit confusing. I’m still not quite sure if I understood what happened.
The bottom line? A bit dark for a middle grade book but still interesting.