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Raging River

by Pam Withers

Jake Evans is a teen with the deck stacked against him: his dad took off without an explanation, Jake struggles in school, and the only way he can afford the expense of kayaking – his favourite competitive sport – is by working weekends as a cook and do-it-all “slave” (to use his term) for Sam’s Adventure Tours. His former friend and current bête noir, Peter Montpetit, is Jake’s exact opposite: he’s got rich parents, money to burn, and no real appreciation for any of his good fortune. When Peter signs on as a client for one of the tour company’s kayaking trips down the dangerous (and fictional) Cattibone River in B.C., Jake is plunged into further misery at his own life’s misfortune – until the two rivals are called on to save a badly injured member of the expedition. The friendship and skills of the two teens are put to the test, with failure on either front carrying potentially fatal consequences.

That’s the basic plot of Raging River, the first of a new series called Taking It to the Extreme. As both the book and series title suggest, this is a thrill-a-minute ride with churning water, dangerous rocks, treacherous logs, vicious wildlife, and physical and emotional fatigue popping up at every river bend. As a chronicler of this action, author Pam Withers – an experienced whitewater raft guide, adventure magazine editor, and kayaking coach – really shines. But while Withers is able to paint a realistic portrayal of the dangers of whitewater travel, her ability to do the same on the story’s human side isn’t up to the same high standard. The dialogue sounds forced, unrealistic, and sometimes even downright laughable. And although some boys may find the action compelling, girls may have trouble identifying with these characters.


Reviewer: Paul Challen

Publisher: Walrus Books/Whitecap Books


Price: $8.95

Page Count: 160 pp

Format: Paper

ISBN: 1-55285-510-4

Released: Sept.

Issue Date: 2003-10


Age Range: ages 10-16