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Ricochet River

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  281 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Set in a fictional Oregon town in the late 1960s, Cody's superlative coming-of-age novel is the story of Wade, Lorna and Jesse--teenagers preparing to break out of their small-town lives. Wade is the local sports hero. Jesse is his friend, a mythical athlete and the Indian kid who applies his own rules to sports and life. And Lorna is Wade's sweetheart who knows there's no ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by Ooligan Press (first published 1992)
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Mar 18, 2008 Mona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All ages of people
I love this book and the development of nature and nurture in this Oregon based fiction. I felt as if I knew these people, drove thru their town, tasted their tears.
I was happy to read this story aloud to my family in a car trip when my Boys were 10 and 13 they fussed at first than begged me to continue as we drove on vacation.
Robin Cook may never write another books as successful as this one but as Harper Lee once pointed out when asked why she did not write more, she answers something like is
Pam Wells
Nov 30, 2016 Pam Wells rated it it was amazing
I'll say this up front: I love this book. It surprised me how much I love this book. It's set in 1960 (not an era I'd normally turn to for my fiction) in a small town in Oregon—the fictional town of Calamus, we're told, but it's fixed in the real forest east of Portland near the Clackamas and Columbia Rivers. It's fixed in the real history, too, of the Pacific Northwest, with the decline of logging as a way of life, the effects of river dams on salmon and the Indians who fished for them, and the ...more
Aug 15, 2010 jeremy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: oregon-pnw, fiction
robin cody's ricochet river generated some mild controversy earlier last decade when some parents of a local school district attempted to have the book banned (on the spurious claims of age-inappropriate sexual themes & profanity). like many banned and censored works, ricochet river is a coming-of-age tale that narrates the requisite emotional awakening and sexual maturing of its teenage characters. set in 1960's calamus, a fictional oregon logging town near portland, the story follows three ...more
May 12, 2017 Dee rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading a "coming of age" novel set in the same era as when I "came of age!" (albeit across the country!) And I enjoyed reading a "local" novel, although I never could quite place where the fictional town of Calamas was located (west of Portland? east of Portland?). This is a great YA novel - and I can see why teachers like it for class discussions. That said, I look forward to my book group's discussion next week.
Kristin M.
Aug 15, 2015 Kristin M. rated it it was ok
The first half of Richochet River was plodding and meandering. More than once, I came close to giving up on the book altogether. Then, halfway through, Ricochet River finally found its groove—the writing became smoother, the pace picked up, and the plot figured out what direction it was going. Though the second half was better, my overall impression of this book is lukewarm—it managed to save itself from a poor rating, but didn’t warrant an excellent rating either.

Many other people have had a mu
Oct 04, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Oregonians, esp. little b
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 05, 2016 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Theryn Fleming
This is a coming-of-age story set in 1959-60 in a small Oregon town. I liked the West Coasty-ness of it; the setting was very authentic. The narrative voice was engaging. Storytelling (i.e. the characters telling stories to each other) plays a significant role in the book and this is, I think, what sets this story apart from others in its genre, but at times this device bogs the story down. The story itself is a quiet one with no dramatic plot developments—except for the ending. On the one hand, ...more
Mar 29, 2009 Paul rated it it was ok
This is a book by an Oregon author about three teenagers coming of age in a small town. One teen, Jesse, is a Native American who doesn't quite fit in. He's a free spirit, unassuming, and difficult for the townspeople to understand. Overall written well. It held my interest well enough to finish. Some of the writing is very good, creating vivid pictures in my mind. In some places it was as if I was in the story. Unfortunately there were parts that seemed to drag on and occasionally I found mysel ...more
Chelsea Lobey
Aug 08, 2016 Chelsea Lobey rated it really liked it
I love reading books with such a strong connection to place—and not just any place, but Oregon, the state I’ve called my home for the vast majority of my life. Cody has an uncanny ability to evoke strong imagery of small town life that at once feels like any town anywhere in the U.S., and at the same time feels exactly like my own hometown. A place that I, too, was desperate to escape for something bigger, something better.

Cody’s lyrical style and lush imagery perfectly reflect the vast natural
Amy Narneeloop
Dec 06, 2015 Amy Narneeloop rated it it was ok
Robin Cody can turn a beautiful phrase; there's some really nice language in here. I wish it had been highlighted. His strongest prose gets bogged down in the lumpy plot (it wasn't paced evenly--I couldn't tell how much time was passing). While I felt he was trying to turn it on its head, the book read like a fulfillment of nearly all Native American tropes in literature.

If I were from Oregon, I might have identified with the place writing more. His land and weather descriptions are gorgeous! Th
Mar 03, 2016 Alyssa rated it liked it
If you're looking for a coming of age story set in the 1960's then this is the story for you. If you're also looking for a story with strong imagery, then this is the story for you. As someone who just moved to Portland not that long ago it was fun to read a story set in the place that I'm living. When Wade and Jesse rafted down the river I felt like I was there with them or when they rode in Wade's truck I felt I was on the seat next to them. The characters as well as the scenery come alive in ...more
Nov 02, 2013 Chandra rated it liked it
As an Oregonian, I loved that I knew the places and towns in this book. I had a difficult time getting into the story. Once I finally got hooked, about a quarter of the way through, it went a lot easier. It's a YA story, set in a little logging town in the 60s. Three teens - the QB, his girlfriend who can't wait to escape small town for something bigger & the new kid from the reservation - are basically trying to find their places within the town & the world, really. Slow to get into but ...more
Apr 11, 2012 Whitney rated it liked it
This is not your typical YA novel. An honest, small town story about Jessie, a boy who didn't seem to belong anywhere. Told from the point of view of Wade, the high school quarterback, who ends up befriending Jessie completely by accident. The narrative flows back and forth the like river the book was named after, drifting from memory flashbacks, current narration and Native American mythology. The book wrestles with high school issues of fitting in, both in the small scale and large scheme of t ...more
Jun 13, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it
This is a well written story set in what felt like my own back yard. For anyone from Oregon (or anywhere in the Northwest) this reads like a familiar tale about the clash between yesterday and today in the Columbia Gorge. Packed with rich images of salmon, rivers, reservations, fishing, friendship, dams and fish ladders, small towns, and the complexities of simple people struggling to adjust to the changing landscape. This would be a good book to read on a stormy weekend at the beach.
Apr 19, 2008 carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A coming of age story in the woods and waters of Oregon. The depth of the characters and the sense of place is so precise. It makes me want to jump on a raft and ride down the Clackamas, though I would never go near the Columbia River Bar unless I was on a giant boat. The place really is its own character, just as it is here. The sincerity of the relationships was so real and wonderful.
Sep 16, 2015 Deborah rated it liked it
An interesting, multicultural trip into the past, in a small logging town. Being from Oregon I enjoyed the mentioning of familiar towns and places.
The first part is rather slow going, but it does pick up and keep you reading in the second half.
A YA book, it does have some sex and drinking, but I imagine that is appealing and makes it a sought after book.
S.E. Shurtleff
Oct 02, 2010 S.E. Shurtleff rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, and it's been a long time since I've said that. It's quiet, filled with beautiful language and made me think about all sorts of nature/life metaphors. I'm so glad to have met Robin and have a signed copy.
Jan 08, 2011 Maija rated it it was ok
I found this difficult to read. Don't get me wrong, the message of respecting the land of the Native Americans is one that should be constantly reminded amongst American citizens. However, I just found the overall story too drawn out and uneventful. I struggled trying to finish it.
Dec 13, 2007 Karen rated it really liked it
Just an excellent book. I like it because it encapsulates Oregon so well. I mean, just everything: the small towns, Portland, the forests, the rivers, the oceans, the people. I like the characters, especially Wade.
Nov 29, 2012 Nicole rated it it was ok
Had to read this for class when I was in high school. It was alright- it had some good parts, and then it had its not-so-good parts. The characters had distinct personalities and impact on each others lives. I love how Cody describes my state, Oregon. It truly is beautiful and wild!
Edward Kidder
Jan 25, 2008 Edward Kidder rated it liked it
Portland, OR area story in a fictional town in the Cascades. High school buddies. Stranger comes to town and they all go on a journey. The ending didn't work for me, but it was a good page turner.
Dec 03, 2009 Alice rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, americas
Marc gave this to me after meeting the author at an anti-LNG event. We'll see, though I don't usually go for "growing up in the 50's" memoirs.

I liked it - but it seemed to be almost a textbook for a "literature" class. Felt like it was following a formula.
May 21, 2008 Jessicat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
This is a great “guy” book, with strong ties to Estacada, Oregon, salmon, the 1960s, and Native American culture. Realistic and lovable characters. If you’re an Oregonian—or have ever been one—you have to read this!
Feb 11, 2016 Hollis rated it liked it
Interesting in being about Oregon in the 1960's, a logging community - but the characters never felt fully fleshed out to me.
Nov 11, 2010 Nick rated it really liked it
like me some robin cody. lets go rafting
Jan 24, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it
I didn't edit this book; I did work on marketing it. It's a great read and fun coming-of-age story.
Jan 05, 2011 Kirstie rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, ooligan
An interesting story of three teenagers coming of age in a small town. The book deals with issues of prejudice, freedom, and fitting in. The book is also a good area piece of northeastern Oregon.
Brittany Wilmes
Oct 08, 2011 Brittany Wilmes rated it liked it
Simple, but sweet. This book felt like a mash-up of Sherman Alexie's YA fiction and a novel by David James Duncan. I loved the NW elements - fish, weather, work ethic.
Ana Alcutt
Feb 19, 2015 Ana Alcutt rated it really liked it
This was a true coming of age fiction. Set in a town not far from mine. This is a true motif of a town divided. Wonderful story with a heart break ending.
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An Oregon native, Robin Cody is the author of Ricochet River and Voyage of a Summer Sun, both of which appear on the Oregon State Library's "150 Oregon Books for the Oregon Sesquicentennial" list. Voyage of a Summer Sun won the Oregon Book Award for literary nonfiction. Cody has worked as an English teacher, a dean of college admissions, a baseball umpire, and a school bus driver. He lives in Port ...more
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