Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The River Between Us” as Want to Read:
The River Between Us
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The River Between Us

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  3,535 Ratings  ·  478 Reviews
The year is 1861. Civil war is imminent and Tilly Pruitt's brother, Noah, is eager to go and fight on the side of the North. With her father long gone, Tilly, her sister, and their mother struggle to make ends meet and hold the dwindling Pruitt family together. Then one night a mysterious girl arrives on a steamboat bound for St. Louis. Delphine is unlike anyone the small ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published June 21st 2005 by Puffin Books (first published September 29th 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details

This was an easy and fast historical fiction book for kids on the Civil war, but yet very good for adults. I love Richard Peck and have read many of his books to my kids over the years. We own many of them, so when my kids pick one up I know it is appropriate for the age and I also know they are in for a treat because all of his stories I have enjoyed.

This was a mild telling of some historical events that occurred in the Civil war era so that kids could glimpse at what it must have been like wit
Dec 06, 2008 Megan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Coach Hubble, Mrs. Trice, and Mrs, Pepper
What kept me reading this book was the fact that everything that was going on, was happening during the Civil War time period. I believe the author's intention for writing this book was to let the reader see what life was like during that time. My favorite character was Delphine Duval. Delphine was my favorite character because she's very spunky, has a very high spirit, always looks on the bright side of things, and she's also extremely brave and courageous. My least favorite character was Mrs. ...more
During the early days of the Civil War, the Pruitt family takes in two mysterious young ladies who have fled New Orleans to come north to Illinois.

Richard Peck writes about Tilly Peck and her family in Grand Tower, Illinois along a settlement town along the Mississippi River, set in 1861 just before the Civil War begins. The story opens with Howard Leland Hutchings telling of the road trip he, his dad, Dr. William Hutchings, and his two younger brothers, Raymond and Earl make from St. Louis to
Apr 28, 2009 Suzette rated it really liked it
This book was a little slow at first, but it really picked up and it really packed a punch!! I learned so much about from this different view of the Civil War, and things I never knew about the culture of New Orleans. There is a small amount of graphic violence in a battle scene. Richard Peck is an excellent author, and although I do prefer his comedies, this was a very well written book. 4 1/2 stars from me.
Laura Noto
The River Between Us is a chapter book for 7th to 12th graders. It is a story that takes place in Illinois in the beginning of the Civil War. The narrator is a 15-year-old Caucasian girl named Tilly Pruitt. She lives with her mother, her twin brother Noah, and her younger sister Cass. Two mysterious strangers come into town (one lighter skinned and dressed very eloquently and the other darker skinned, dressed less formal, with a wrap on her head) and Tilly’s mother offers them a room to
Jan 30, 2010 Madonnasharma rated it it was amazing
Scott O’Dell Award & National Book Award (2004) The River between Us by Richard Peck
Grade level: 7th & up

The criteria given for this award is that it be historical fiction about events in “The New World”, written in English by a citizen of U.S. and be for children or young adults. Peck’s masterpiece fits the criteria and more; this is the first book that I have read by this author and I promptly added two more to my “to read” list. I like his style, it is simple, but beautiful, and the c
Christine Jensen
Approximate Interest Level/Reading Level: Junior High/High School

Format: Chapter Book

Awards: ALA Notable Books for Children (2004), ALA Best Books for Young Adults (2004), National Book Award Honor for Young People's Literature (2003), Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction (2004)

A young man travels with his father in the early 1900s to meet his extended family. Once there, his grandmother, in the telling of their family history, relives her experience as a teenager when two mysterious strang
Jan 02, 2016 Nancy rated it really liked it
A thought provoking book for young adults- it highlights the injustices and prejudices that shaped a family for multiple generations. Set in southern Illinois in 1861, two women disembark from a riverboat looking for shelter. Noah and Tilly, twins, board the women in their home and are mesmerized by the New Orleans travelers Delphine and Calinda. Delphine is a glamorous young woman, while Calinda is her black servant.

When Noah is sent to fight in the Civil War, Tilly and Delphine are sent to br
Feb 25, 2013 Lauren rated it really liked it
In my opinion, this is a very different Civil War book. I chose it because it highlighted Southern Illinois and I thought it would be interesting to read about somewhere close to home. Then, it took an even more exciting turn! This book is told in two parts- the first and last part are told from a young boy's perspective in the year 1916 (fun fact: the year my great-aunt was born- we talked about it Sunday) and then one of his grandparents takes over as the majority of the book flashes back to t ...more
Dec 28, 2013 Stacey rated it it was amazing
My 7th grader asked me to read this because he didn't understand a few parts. A fantastic book taking place at the start of the civil war. The discussion that followed was worth millions with my son. I wish I had to read great books when I was in school.
Mar 05, 2008 Maggie rated it really liked it
My most favorite book of Richard Peck's, funny, sad and heart rending.
May 31, 2015 Katherine rated it liked it
Shelves: kid-stuff
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 18, 2017 Margaret rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant book. It captures the mood of the times--small town in southern Illinois during the Civil War and the voices of its protagonists--both the very provincial rural characters and the New Orleans-bred glamor that comes upon them. And it has a riveting plot, with several unexpected twists as characters develop in ways not expected. I wasn't sure at first the frame story was needed, but when I finished the book and then began to re-read it again, I loved the way that hints are ther ...more
In the River Between Us, Richard Peck skillfully weaves together a boy’s coming of age story, how the Civil War affected those living along the Mississippi, and the subcultures of Louisiana society to form a gripping historical fiction novel. The story is narrated by 15 year old Howard Leeland Hutchings who, in 1916, is on the road with his father and brothers to visit his father’s family. Once with the relatives, his grandmother begin to reminisce about the hardships of the Civil War. With thi ...more
Feb 14, 2009 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this little trip into American History. Most of the book (and it's a small one - easy read) takes place at the start of the Civil War, although it starts and ends in the year 1916.

A steamboat whistle splits the air one April evening in 1861, and with it, all is changed for 15 year old Tilly Pruitt and her family. They've been living in a muddy little mississippi River town in Illinois, fearing the approach of the Civil War. Tilly's twin brother Noah, however, has been marching and dril
Steven Reid
Dec 09, 2012 Steven Reid rated it really liked it
Shelves: junior-book
1. Genre: Historical Fiction

2. Summary: This book is about a family who take in two southern girls during the start of the Civil War. It describes the trials and hardships they go through to keep the family together and look out for each other.

3a. Historical Accuracy

3b. Peck has created a story about a small part of the Civil War, and he conducted his research well. While his characters are fictional, Peck constructed his story around actual places, and used historical data about "egyptians" an
Jared Anderson
Apr 01, 2014 Jared Anderson rated it it was amazing
Beautiful in it's simplistic manner of conjuring up mental scenery, The River Between Us is a sobering journey of the affects of the US Civil War on the best of people. People who would never hear a shot fired in anger. People with pure hearts who held no bias beyond there own sphere's of influence. People changed forever because of how they suffered. Forget rags to riches stories, I prefer watching a pure innocent grow into a callused character giant any day.

Though the author spends a great dea
Jun 19, 2010 Yasmin rated it it was amazing
I've always hated war books.
I've picked this book because I love the author, not knowing it was a war book. If I knew, I would never have picked it.
I enjoyed this book so much because it shows the human side of war.
It is sad that in olden days, fighters had to face each other to kill, so they knew that they both have families and loved ones.
Now a days, things are robotic, people kill each other from thousands of miles away.
They don't have to think of whom they are killing. " The enemy must be mo
Feb 23, 2011 s.leep added it
The River Between Us by Richard Peck (2005) This story “begins” in 1916, with a doctor driving his teenage son and twin children to his Illinois hometown on the bank of the Mississippi River, and then shifts to 1861, as a young woman describes how her town is affected by the mounting dissent between the North and the South, and the arrival of a mysterious woman from New Orleans.

The narrative shift from the doctor’s teenage son to the female voice two generations prior is abrupt, but her story so
Caroline Daniel
Nov 30, 2016 Caroline Daniel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reading-4050
o Summary: This book is about a family that goes through a lot of sticky situations during the civil war. The Pruitt family experiences much heartbreak during the this time. It consist of many sad events and even death. Your typical civil war story with a twist. This is a great story of family, love, and the civil war.
o Grade level: fifth
o Appropriate classroom use: comprehension test for reading that can be taught while the students are learning about the civil war in their history class
o Indi
Apr 13, 2008 Ryan rated it it was amazing
This book is in the class with Tuck Everlasting and The Book Thief. Peck says just enough, never too much and there are no unbelievable bee-charming events. It is superior to his Newberry medal and honors books - and they are good.

River pulls in non-traditional elements of Civil War stories - it is set in the Western theater, in Southern Illinois (Peck tends to center his stories in Illinois, and most often in Southern Illinois). The small town is divided but more like rival football team fans a
Beth Pearson
Sep 08, 2014 Beth Pearson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was slow for me to get into. I actually quit for awhile when I got to Chapter 2 and realized it was 50+ years earlier. I'm glad I came back to it and read on. Tilly's voice reminded me a bit of "These is my Words" with the poor vocabulary and country backwoods ring. I enjoyed the Civil War setting....not of one of the great plantations of the South, but instead set in Southern Illinois where the town was divided between north and south sympathies. Although a fiction book, I feel the re ...more
Mar 28, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it
This was a great, quick read. I always enjoy all of Richard Peck's books. I love his historical fiction. They give me a brilliant, clear peek at the past, if only for a moment.

This book begins with a father and his 3 sons going on a journey in 1916 to visit their grandparents in Grand Tower, Illinois. The bulk of the novel is Grandma Tilly telling her story to her grandson of when she was young and the civil war began. When she is 17, and the war has hardly begun, two young mysterious girls from
Feb 27, 2010 Heidi rated it it was amazing
National Book Award Finalist
Scott O’Dell Award
Grades 6-12
Peck explores the complexity of race, status, love, and war in this multi-generational novel. Set in Southern Illinois along the Mississippi River, Peck beautifully captures the setting and characters of Civil War-time America in the area of the country where Union and Confederate sympathies mingled. Considering the subject matter, this book could have easily spanned 500 pages, but Peck pares it down perfectly for the adolescent reader. Th
May 30, 2016 Cathy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The year is 1861. Civil war is imminent and Tilly Pruitt's brother, Noah, is eager to go and fight on the side of the North. With her father long gone, Tilly, her sister, and their mother struggle to make ends meet and hold the dwindling Pruitt family together. Then one night a mysterious girl arrives on a steamboat bound for St. Louis. Delphine is unlike anyone the small river town has even seen. Mrs. Pruitt agrees to take Delphine and her dark, silent traveling companion in as boarders. No one ...more
Apr 26, 2016 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the historical detail of Richard Peck's writing--the minutia blows me away! This story within a story is touching and full of...awesomeness. A quick dose of history that you don't normally see in textbooks, part of the Civil War that was felt on the homefront and not on the battlefield. After I finished, I went immediately to look up more about Southern Illinois during this time. Maybe it's because I lived close by and recognized some of the places, but I just loved the setting. Unfortuna ...more
Apr 22, 2015 Tiffany rated it really liked it
Richard Peck has become one of my favorite authors. I read The River Between Us to see if it was age appropriate for my 10 year old 4th grader. I loved is civil war era story and Peck's way of showing us humanity throughout all the action. I am going to hold on to this one and wait until my child is in 6th grade when I think it will be of greater interest to her.
Dec 10, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it
This was a surprisingly good read. I would recommend it to anyone.
Jun 01, 2008 Katie rated it it was amazing
Great Book! Startign to make sense. A little confusing in the beginning!
Okay so hopefully with my classes down I can crush some reading reviews and I have been busy and backed up on reviewing…so let me get this out of the way because I finished this like a week ago to support a 5thgrade ELA class as I like to read along with the class and know what they are reading, annotate little questions and plot devices like foreshadowing to help their awesome teacher Mr. Wright as he attempts to make them not just read but understand and make educated inquiries turn into thoug ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: #35 The River Between Us 1 2 Apr 18, 2014 05:29PM  
  • Red Moon at Sharpsburg
  • Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule
  • Bull Run
  • Worth
  • Charley Skedaddle
  • Jip: His Story
  • Trouble Don't Last
  • Iron Thunder: The Battle Between the Monitor & the Merrimac
  • The Art of Keeping Cool
  • Water Street
  • Girl in Blue
  • How I Found the Strong
  • Shades of Gray
  • Elijah of Buxton
  • Counting on Grace
  • The Loud Silence of Francine Green
  • Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
  • The Bomb
Richard Peck is an American novelist known for his prolific contributions to modern young adult literature. He was awarded the Newbery Medal in 2001 for his novel A Year Down Yonder.

Richard Peck was born in 1934 in Decatur, Illinois, a town he describes as quiet and safe. His mother, Virginia, was a dietitian and his father, Wayne, was a merchant who often rode his Harley Davidson to work.

More about Richard Peck...

Share This Book

“I caught a glimpse of happiness, and saw it was a bird on a branch, fixing to take wing.” 9 likes
“This was something Grandma Tilly couldn't understand---how war promises a boy it can make a man out of him.” 5 likes
More quotes…