"I was entirely gripped by INTO THE RIVER, and struck by how relevant its content is to a contemporary teenage audience. This is an important, skillfully-told novel, and it deserves to be talked about. In short, I love this book. I’m not sure I can praise it enough.”
—Lucy Christopher, author of Stolen, a Printz Award honor book, and Flyaway, shortlisted for the Costa Award
"Te Arepa/Devon is a deeply compelling character...Readers will either see themselves in Devon and his story or will reconsider their own roles in their schools' social structures...an object lesson in how systems of power perpetuate themselves.”
“Determined and curious teens will find this work thought provoking, eye-opening, and maybe even familiar.”
—School Library Journal
"Te Arepa, who cycles through a believable variety of identities and struggles, is beautifully vivid. The compassionate depiction of the teen’s choices, both good and bad, as well as the candid portrayal of life at an all-boys school, packed as it is with drugs, drinking, sex, and violent bullying, will give this significant appeal for fans of character-driven novels where the conclusions aren’t very rosy, let alone clearly definitive.”
"Riveting...Into the River is a raw story that rings true. Older teens will devour this fresh, engaging coming-of-age novel about personal identity and poisonous social inequality, the excitement and terror of adolescence, the nuances of friendship and freedom and much more."
"Emphasizes the complications of culture, loyalty, and consequences when “there is freedom and then there is everything else.”
Te Arepa is an adventurous Maori boy, bound to the history, customs and rituals of his people. Yet when he comes upon a giant eel while fishing, he is convinced the creature is a taniwha, or water demon, and follows it. Yet what Te Arepa finds in the river is far different, far more sinister. And it will change his life forever.
Te Arepa has always been curious about experiencing life beyond his tribe. His wishes seem granted when he is awarded a scholarship at a prestigious boarding school, far away from the Maori. Leaving behind his family and their traditions, Te Arepa sets out to discover a strange new world with customs of its own...as well as new enemies.
When he arrives at school, Te Arepa finds the freedom and everything it offers intoxicating. But to fit in, he realizes that he must shed his identity, culture, and even his name. And he comes to realize that what the water demon showed him in the darkness of the river that day changed him, and that freedom comes with a heavy price.