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River Rats

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  206 ratings  ·  24 reviews
A paddle wheeler cruises up the Mississippi, delivering mail and hosting an occasional concert. A scene straight out of the nineteenth century? Not quite. This Mississippi is a toxic brown river. And the paddle wheeler is run by the River Rats, a troop of orphans who survived the Flash, a nuclear holocaust. What were once huge cities are now plague-ridden ruins haunted by ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1992)
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Sherwood Smith
Jul 21, 2013 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: sf

I believe we are right in the middle of a Golden Age in YA Literature. There are so many wonderful books being published, yet there are many older ones that should not be left to languish. These are the ones that hold up well, that add to the fireworks display of story, voice, and ideas happening in YA fiction these days.

Such a book is Caroline Stevermer’s River Rats, first brought out by Jane Yolen Books (Harcourt) in 1992, and reissued subsequently.

The story begins after the ``Flash'' (an unex
Katie Tender

This book was kinda terrible. I started it out not expecting great things, just a run-of-the-mill post-apocalyptic quick read. Still, it was surprisingly bad. I couldn't decide whether to give it a 1 or a 2, so since Goodreads doesn't allow .5 stars, it gets a 1.

Having read (and decided not to read) many post-apocalyptic books, I would say that this one's plot is marginal at best. Furthermore, since its seemingly arbitrarily selected target audience is young adult, it has to employ weak plo
I thought the book was good. It was different from most post-apocalyptic books I read and I thought that the idea of having hope in a time like that is ideal to me. I also like the fact that they used different characters to show the differences between gangs or groups. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys adventure based stories.

For those who have not read it, the book is about a group of orphans who are in charge of a paddle boat that they use to travel throughout the post-apocalyp
In spite of a promising premise, a band of orphans delivering news and entertainment up and down a toxic, post apocalyptic Mississippi River in a restored riverboat, the plot and characters of "River Rats" seem sadly bland and plodding. The orphans feel interchangeable and I never really got into the motivations of any of them, most of all Tomcat, the first person narrator who seems only to exist to be present at the events. The rats find themselves breaking an arbitrary rule when they rescue th ...more
Ms. Myers
This book is called river rats its by Caroline Stervermer book is about a paddle boat that sails through a toxic Mississippi river after a nuclear bomb that washed the states on that boat are orphans. They watch the river for survivors. One day there was an old man running out to the river and there were 5 guys chasing after him the guys who were chasing him looked like they got sunburned in there faces they were big like buff. When they saved the old guy from the river they asked him what happ ...more
Liked the book a great deal. The narrator Tomcat has a great sense of humor. There were times I laughed out loud at the exchange between the characters. A post-apocalyptic book set on the Mississippi River in the Wisconsin/Minnesota region. Some of the cities retain their names, and some are renamed slightly but you can work them out. The city of Pig's Eye is actually Minneapolis, going by its original name.
Jared Conti
This was okay. It took 150 pages to get to the meaty part of the action, but by then there wasn't enough time to spend really getting into it. Unresolved love issues, not enough post-apocalyptic shenanigans, and long chapters made for a bit of a disappointing read. It's over twenty years old, maybe that's it?
Neill Smith
The River Rats are a group of escaped orphans who lived on the River Rat, a steam paddlewheeler that runs up and down a polluted Mississippi River many years after the Flash has devastated the landscape and the population of the area. They earn food and goods by delivering mail and playing music at the various settlements that still exist along the river but they dare not go ashore due to the gangs of wild boys and mean people who ransack and pillage communities for their food and water. However ...more
I read this as a consideration for a classroom read - it would have fit with the project-based learning theme of the Mississippi River. However, I've decided that I will definitely not be teaching this book. The story is predictable, the characters lack depth and development, and the world-building leaves much to be desired.

Recommended for people who don't mind predictability and are looking for a quick post-apocalyptic read.
After the "flash" that destroyed the States, six orphans run a paddle wheeler up and down a toxic brown Mississippi river. When they rescue a stranger from the poisonous river and from the gang following on the bank, their world changes again.
Unusual, different, I enjoyed it with reservations. Just can't put my finger on what the reservations are. Maybe just because it made me feel uncomfortable and somewhat sad.
The concept of this book was pretty interesting, but it never quite lived up to its promise. I never felt all that connected to the characters until the last third of the book. I didn't feel like the author gave a good reason for why the Rats would take an old man aboard when they threw others in the river who tried to forcefully board their steamer. Definitely not Caroline Stevermer's best writing.
I hadn't read this book since I was ten, but I found in on my bookshelf the other day and read it in a couple of hours. I still liked it. Oh my god I am terrible at reviews.

My recommendation was too long, but it was this: "people who like post-apocalyptic books or books where bands of [pre]adolescents band together to survive." I am both of those people. By the way.
Tomcat is part of the crew of the River Rat, a paddle wheeler running mail, never passengers, up and down the river. At 7 miles an hour, she is the fastest thing on the river since the Flash and neotyphus. Now theyt have an unwanted passenger, King, and more unwanted company in the Lesters, who are hunting King. Is this the end of the River Rat?
i liked the idea of this book. its post industrial collapse and 6 orphans take over a steam boat on the mississippi and survive by playing rock shows to people on the land who trade them with food, mail, news and stories. but the execution was totally weak, the plot contrived and the characters were undeveloped.

sad! :(
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Not bad. I think it was better the first time I read it, i.e. it's not the kind of thing you re-read. Or at least it's not the kind of thing I re-read. This is a bit of a departure for Stevermer. Or at least, if she's written, say, short stories that are more science fictional, I'm not aware of them.
Aug 22, 2007 Melissa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who want their post-apocalyptic stories with a little less decay
A post-apocalyptic paddle-steamer ride down the Mississip' that combines a teenage crew of itinerant rockers with a posse hunting down a horse thief. Nothing like anything else I've read by Stevermer, who's more of a "will you have a crumpet with your tea? one lump or two?" kind of writer.
This was a good, solid kids' book.

Imagine the world of Huck Finn with a little bit of Peter Pan's Lost Boys thrown in for good measure, and you've got yourself a winner. :)
A group of orphans run a paddle-wheel steamboat on the Mississippi River in a post-apocalyptical world. They know passengers are bad luck, but they help a fugitive adult anyway.
I liked her other fantasy books better. This one just didn't quite have enough meat for me to feel satisfied.
this was a really funny book you dudes should really read it this book i think is is awesome
Straight-forward post-apocalyptic, kids on a riverboat adventure. Not very deep, but fun.
Different from her others, but well written and a fun read.
Awesome novel great for young adult readers.
MJ Schwartz
MJ Schwartz marked it as to-read
Nov 09, 2015
Natalie marked it as to-read
Nov 04, 2015
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Nov 03, 2015
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(from website)
Caroline Stevermer grew up miles from anywhere on a dairy farm in southeastern Minnesota. She has a sister and two brothers. After high school, she attended Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, where she earned a B.A. degree in the history of art. She knew she wanted to be a writer when she was eight years old. She began by writing stories in her school notebooks. (They were not good.
More about Caroline Stevermer...

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