River Girl by R.E. Whaley #mf #review #YA @FinchBooks @rewhaley2

River Girl

A college student thought she was going on an ordinary vacation, but what she found was the most thrilling and dangerous adventure of her life and one very handsome young Marine to help her.

Pauline was supposed to be a new college graduate, but after a very embarrassing incident at college, she left school. Forced to move back in with her mother and stepfather, she’s depressed and barely getting by. She’s also dealing with her younger sister’s suicide.

To fulfil her sister’s dream, Pauline goes on a summer rafting trip in the wilderness of British Columbia, Canada, though she’s not as outdoorsy as her sister was. Once Pauline starts the journey down the river, reaching the destination back to civilization proves rife with unexpected and treacherous obstacles. She soon finds herself trapped with her river guide, Ellis, a young Marine who harbors his own dark secrets and is learning to live with a traumatic brain injury. The pair start off hating each other. Things take a turn for the worse when they begin to suspect they are being followed and Pauline is the target.

As they make their way down the river in a race against time, they have to work together to outsmart her potential killers.

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I have to say, I really like the set up to this young adult romance. Completely different situation/issues, but it had the feel of Fault in Our Stars without being an ugly cry. Which is a good thing – because I can only handle so many of those. What I mean though, is that both characters are dealing with some heavy stuff, and when they meet under unique circumstances (this is the set up I loved), their journey to each other and their character’s growth is what really worked for me in this book.


It starts off where the heroine, Pauline, is forced to come back home to live with her parents after a cringe-worthy moment at college. She’s depressed for many reasons, not the least of which is the suicide of her younger sister. So to help her get her head back on straight and to maybe get some closure, she decides to take the river rafting trip out in the wilderness that her sister had always wanted to do. It’s there that she meets Ellis, an ex-Marine who has his own demons to work through.


Together, they’re like fire and gasoline starting out – they can’t stand each other. This is where their journey to each other comes into play and was ultimately my favorite part of the book. And who doesn’t love a bit of danger with their romance? Yes, there’s action and suspense – and while I did enjoy that element for the most part – sometimes it would insert itself in a way that was a bit jarring. Overall, I was glad it was there and was part of the reason I wanted to read this story, but the pacing throughout those sections was a tad off.


The writing is well done and the story is very good. I’d definitely seek out more of this author’s books in the future, and I also give Ellis props for being such a swoon-worthy brooding hero. This was a solid 4 star read for me.


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