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Wild River

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  214 ratings  ·  69 reviews
It’s Ryan versus the river in a race against time to save his brother’s life.

When twelve-year-old Ryan reluctantly agrees to join his experienced older brother Tanner on a camping trip, he could never have dreamed this would turn into the most frightening day of his life.

Ryan’s no good at sports or outdoor stuff. He’d rather be home playing video games. But Tanner says it...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published June 9th 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 353)
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Kathy
I just read Never Say Die by Will Hobbs right before reading Wild River. I might have liked Wild River better if I hadn't just read Never Say Die because the stories have some similar elements but Wild River is definitely written for a younger less mature audience. I read them because they are both 2015 award nominees in Illinois and i wanted to know who they would appeal to so I can promote them as part of my job. Anyway, without divulging any details if you have a younger reader looking for so...more
Jen
Tanner and his younger brother Ryan go on a kayaking tour of the Boulder River one weekend. Tanner is always up for an adventure where Ryan hates taking risks and would rather be home playing video games. Their trip is going ok and they even catch a couple of fish, but then their kayak hits a big log and things start to go wrong. Tanner hit his head and lost consciousness in the river. Ryan went into survival mode and spent a ton of time getting Tanner out of the freezing water, patching his for...more
Diane
"The longest day of my life began with my brother, Tanner, yelling, "Wake up, Ryan. You just won a free trip."

Ryan's not the outdoors type. He would rather stay at home and encounter adventure through his video games than "in the wild." But no one says "no" to big brother Tanner and, before Ryan knows it, he's headed out for a day of kayaking, fishing and camping. But when an accident leaves Tanner unconscious, Ryan must find a way to get out of the canyon and get help. It's Ryan against the mou...more
Jackie
Ryan,12, has always lived in the shadow of his older brother, Tanner's limelight and glory. Not much of an athlete or scholar, Ryan is content to play video games and wile-away endless days. Tanner, although always encouraging Ryan to step out of his comfort zone, doesn't really ever seem to get through to Ryan.

But when Tanner's friend backs out of a camping/hiking/kayaking trip, he convinces Ryan to come in his stead. Mom drops the brothers off in the wilderness with assurances that she would...more
Kelly
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lizbeth
The book "Wild River" was about a boy who planed a trip to go kayaking. He decided to invite his younger brother, but he just didn’t want to go. He knew it was right to obey his brother so he took the trip with him. As both brothers kayaked their boat crashed into a big rock and popped. The older brother was badly hurt and didn’t wakeup. It seemed as if he were in a comma, while the younger brother looked for recue. As he searched for rescue to have his mind off things he was afraid he made up s...more
Sarah
2012 Battle of the Books.
12-year-old Ryan is dragged on a two-day kayaking adventure by his older brother, Tanner. He makes no secret of the fact that he would rather be home playing video games, and that outdoor adventure is not his thing.
When disaster strikes, Ryan is forced to live in the real world and discover his true capabilities. To be successful, he must draw on his knowledge of life vs video games.
"But this wasn't a video game. In those games, if you made a mistake and got killed, it w...more
Jan
Ryan feels inept and awkward when compared to his athletically talented older brother, Tanner. Tanner loves all outdoor sports, but Ryan would rather stay indoors and get his adventure from video games. So when Tanner railroads him into a brothers-only kayaking trip, Ryan is apprehensive. But Tanner is so confident and competent that Ryan goes along with him.

The beginning of the trip was easier than Ryan thought it would be. The river was high, and easy to navigate; the sunshine and the fishing...more
Addison Children
This one is a short story with a cover, hardly even a novella. Ryan is forced to go on an overnight kayaking trip with his older brother when Tanner's friend backs out. Ryan has no experience with camping, kayaking, or anything outdoors. Ryan loves video games. Shortly after the two day trip begins, the kayak crashes, Tanner is knocked unconscious, and Ryan must use his wits and video game experience to obtain help and the mountain wilderness. An easy enough read for any adventure bib.
Pat Salvatini
Twelve-year-old Ryan admits he'd rather play video games than sports, and he wasn't thrilled at the idea of joining his older brother on a kayaking camping trip. So when Tanner noticed the higher than normal river water and told Ryan not to worry, he couldn't have been more wrong. Faced with real, life-threatening, problems Ryan has to dig deep inside himself to save his brother and himself. Petersen creates a great character that pulls the reader in.
Jessie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kerry
Ryan is an average twelve-year-old that spends most of his time playing video games. Everything changes when a kayaking trip with his older brother takes a turn for the worst, and Ryan has to step up his game to become a real life hero. Great recommendation for reluctant readers or readers who enjoy survival/adventure stories like the I Survived series. It is a quick and somewhat exciting read despite the mediocre writing.
Rebeccareads
Good adventure story for young readers looking for something a little longer. "Perfect" older brother convinces 12 year old Ryan to join him on an overnight kayak/camp out. Trouble ensues and Ryan must quickly learn how to take care of his big brother. His self doubt is replaced by his determination to save his brother.
Shelley
Ryan is a twelve-year old couch potato who loves video games. When he is finally convinced to join his athletic older brother on a kayak trip, he figures it will be okay as his brother should be able to take care of everything. Ryan is basically just along for the ride until his brother has an accident on the river and Ryan is thrown into the role of life-saving survivalist. While not as gripping as Hobbs' rafting adventure, "Take Me to the River," this book is still a great option for adventure...more
Kate
Hi/lo Bluestem nominee that is all action and sentence fragments. Perhaps the intent is to be choppy, like the water down which Ryan rides in an inflatable kayak with his hero brother Tanner? I am not sure what makes this one Bluestem-worthy. Good hi/lo, though.
MacIntyre
This book is about a boy named Ryan and his older brother Tanner going camping. Then at one point their kayak flips, and Tanner is unconscious. It's up to Ryan to save his brother and get rescued. What will happen? Find out in WILD RIVER!!!
Sharie
An earlier chapter book than Hatchet-type survivor books. Good intro. I really like how the character's survival is based upon his experience in video games. As much as we 'dis' the activities our kids like, there are some redeeming possibilities.
Betsy
It's a fast read. I'm sure kids will like the suspense. I think kids will relate to how the main character compares the experience to a video game. He basis all his decisions on how he would react in a game.
Joyce
Though it has reluctant reader appeal, I didn't find this book to be very well-written. It felt like I was reading closed captions of the narrator's brain, rather than an exciting adventure story. Not my pick for the bluestem, but I'm curious to see how well it does with the students.
B
Meh- action packed for a low 4\5 grade reader. Very similar to books by Hobbs- lots of action, light on realistic details
Angel
This book was pretty good and full of adventure. I would recommend it to 3rd-5th graders who like outdoors and adventure.
Cornmaven
This is nowhere in the league of Hatchet or Far North in terms of survival stories, but it was a pretty good yarn anyway. Might appeal to reluctant boy readers who would look at the slimness of the book and agree to read it. Then give them Hatchet and Far North.

I thought the rhymes the kid made up as he went along were really lame, and I don't think most kids would even laugh at them.

But I did like the way Peterson had the character use the same strategizing he uses while playing video games to...more
Jonathan
I thought this book packed a big enough punch to keep the average young reader intrigued. The author also did a good job of bringing in material students could relate to by constantly referencing video games, although they were clearly made up and didn't seem that exciting. The story was action packed and believable enough that I feel kids could relate to the main character, but the ending was greatly lacking and rushed. Overall I enjoyed this book much more than the Caudill nominee "Never Say D...more
Anne
Trying to find books that my nine year old boy will read.
Denese
Good book for Gary Paulsen fans. Shorter, grades 4 and up
Kerry
Trilling adventure story about two brothers.
Kathie
great adventure written for low readers
Oak Lawn Public Library - Youth Services
Lexile Level: 420L

Pages: 120

Summary: Twelve year old Ryan, who prefers to stay inside and experience life via video games, feels people compare him to his “hero” older brother Tanner. While on a reluctant river trip with his older brother Ryan proves how resourceful he can be.

Recommendations or Comments: An exciting adventure where the hero of the story uses skills he didn’t know he possess to “save the day”.

Stars: 4

Reviewed By: Michèle Freese
Erik
This is another book where I personally wasn't spectacularly interested in it, but I believe it will be an easy sell for the Battle of the Books. It is an adventure story with a boy who spends the book trying to translate his many video game experiences into real life as he looks to save his big brother. The reading level is again relatively low, which combined with the subject material will make this an easy book to read (especially for boys).
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P. J. Petersen grew up on a farm six miles from Geyserville, California. He says, "I was sure that I lived in the most boring place in the world--a prune farm in the middle of nowhere. Since my family didn't have the time or money to travel, I did my traveling through books. I read everything I could get my hands on. Most of my books came from the Geyserville Public Library, which was one tiny roo...more
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