DownriverDownriver by Will Hobbs
My rating: 3/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne Star

if you know me, you know i am a fan of teen survival fiction. well, any survival fiction, but usually teen fiction is written with more immediacy and doesn’t use the genre to mask any deeper metaphors. it is what it is—live through this, or don’t. no need for anything deeper, just primal, keep-breathing stuff. so with this one, i thought i was getting an untapped goldmine: a program for “bad kids” which forces them to hike and raft and climb and grind out their energies, redirecting them towards wholesome, outdoorsy activities instead of, well, stabbing. so the premise is that a bunch of them break out and steal some gear and decide “we will raft the grand canyon alone and unsupervised and then you will all recognize.” or something like that.

“ooh,” i thought, rubbing my hands together…”this is like the start of those programs about world’s dumbest individuals. there is no way this is going to end well.”

so imagine my disappointment. is this a spoiler? there is a sequel, so i feel like it is not. but this is not a teen survival novel. it is a teen adventure novel, which is similar, but not as cool. if these were actual teen delinquents, i think i would like it more; i feel like they would be more interesting. it seems like an odd program, the kids seem mismatched—one is in fact a stabber, one is just drifting homeless, one i think cut class or something—it seems like maybe you would move the knifey one into another group, with more hardcore cases. most of these kids seem less dangerous and more just moody.

i also just like a book where there are consequences to actions. i like justice. ISFJ, bitches! this grand canyon rafting lark was a totally stupid thing to do—you have no training, not enough food, no guide book, what on earth are you doing?? i have never been white water rafting (i pause for laughter at the very thought of me attempting such hahaahhahha) but i know that sometimes, people drown doing it. so to blithely put themselves into this situation with relatively few consequences, well, it makes me want to drown a couple of them just to say, “see?? danger!!”

oh, did i mention one of them captured a scorpion and was keeping it as a pet in a plastic soap dish?? these dummies do not deserve a sequel.

adventure (and that bee)—bad.

read my book reviews on goodreads

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Amazon Disclaimer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including but not limited to,, or,,, or


this feels gauche, but when i announced i was starting a blog, everyone assured me this is a thing that is done. i’m not on facebook, i’ve never had a cellphone or listened to a podcast; so many common experiences of modern life are foreign to me, but i’m certainly struggling financially, so if this is how the world works now, i’d be foolish to pass it up. any support will be received with equal parts gratitude and bewilderment.

To Top