A Young Adult Standout
River will break your heart, will make you cheer, and will grasp your imagination like few YA novels can. Every teen and adult, who as a teen, felt alienated, isolated, and a bit of an outcast, will see themselves in River, the main character of this novel. Although this young woman’s experience takes her on a more esoteric journey than most of us, it is still that deep inward search that connected with this reader and at times made me stop, breathe and have to check my emotions.
Ryen Lesli’s writing style is so completely unique. She has a thorough understanding of how a young adult thinks. While River has to adjust to a new world populated by the Fair, (a magical race which she finds out she is as well), she is also working through having lived a human life away from the legacy of being a reluctant Fair princess. Lesli’s worldbuilding is strong, with the world of the Fair being within the human world and yet still separate, magical and mystical. Worldbuilding is a difficult task, to write the juxtaposition of two worlds takes an uncommon talent and Lesli does it superbly. All of that combined with well drawn characters with depth and personality round out the strengths of this novel.
Then there is River. This character shines in the YA world. Lesli shows us a young woman of strength and vulnerability. A first love, betrayal, a mother who is less than understanding, finding friends lost and unremembered for most of her life, and losing the friends from her life as a human. Her literal transformation back to being a Fair is written powerfully and will move you.
Parents with children at the younger part of the YA spectrum (YA is typically 12-18 years) might need to discuss some language or situations (although it is not anything they haven’t heard in other media), it does make this a great book to read together. The issues within are relevant to today and to most pre-teens and teens.
I highly recommend RIVER. It is an important work, portraying serious themes, and I am anxious to read more in what has been promised to be a series.
RIVER can be purchased on Amazon and other retailers.
River (Beginning of the End) by Ryen Lesli https://www.amazon.com/dp/1949645339/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_5c9iDb65BN8MN via @amazon