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(River #1)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,464 ratings  ·  190 reviews
No adults, no permit, no river map. Just some "borrowed" gear from Discovery Unlimited, the outdoor education program Jessie and her new companions have just ditched. Jessie and the others are having the time of their lives floating beneath sheer red walls, exploring unknown caves and dangerous waterfalls, and plunging through the Grand Canyon's roaring rapids. No one, inc ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 18th 1995 by Laurel Leaf (first published March 30th 1991)
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if you know me, you know i am a fan of teen survival fiction. well, any survival fiction, but usually teen fiction is written with more immediacy and doesn't use the genre to mask any deeper metaphors. it is what it is - live through this, or don't. no need for anything deeper, just primal, keep-breathing stuff. so with this one, i thought i was getting an untapped goldmine: a program for "bad kids" which forces them to hike and raft and climb and grind out their energies, redirecting them towar ...more
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: z-format-book, ya
This is the kind of book that I grew up with and falls into the same type of camp as books by Gary Paulsen such as his forever long Hatchet series and the original Swiss Family Robinson. Unlike the latter, which was more family-oriented, this book follows more Brian from Hatchet in putting a young adult into a survival-type of situation although unlike Brian these kids have a silver spoon thus allowing it to be a bit cleaner as well as not a full survival from the elements but a survival from t ...more
Keegan Bowers
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
DOWNRIVER is an adventure novel written by Will Hobbs. He wrote a long and interesting story about a young girl at a camp that goes on a long hike with her friends and they all have a big adventure together. During the story, they all get to know and connect with each other.
Will Hobbs uses setting, conflict, and characters to complete the story. The characters in the story went to a lot of places, and there were a lot of names of all the places they went in the story. There were so many fights a
Renee Hess
Apr 03, 2008 rated it liked it
English 425 Submitter’s name: Renee Hess
Book Bank Book Bank subject: Novel Approach

Reference information:
Title: Downriver
Author: Will Hobbs
Publisher: Dell Laurel-leaf Year: 1996
# of pages: 204 Genre: Fiction
Reading level Interest level: ages 11 and up
Potential hot lava:
A few curse words, drinking, running away, and stealing

General response/reaction:
I truly liked this book. It was full of excitement and it kept my interest throughout. It was also a very easy read, which I liked.

Subjects, Themes,
Brendan Folk
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Jessie is on an adventure in the Grand Canyon area of the United States. She is white water rafting with newly found friends. There are no adults on this trip, just 6 teenagers all around the age of 15. This group, that happens to be together, is actually a bunch of juvenile delinquents from all over the country that have joined together to receive treatment for their troubled past.
The main characters in the book are Jessie, the narrator or the book; Troy, the so called leader of the group; St
Simon Lindley
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adv-english-11
Imagine being a teenager going on an adventure of a lifetime down the Grand Canyon with no adults. This is the basis of the plot for Downriver. The story begins with a group of rebellious teenagers that are sent to a program called Discovery Unlimited, or as the teens call it, Hoods in the Woods. Discovery Unlimited is run by Al, and he takes the group of teenagers out into the wilderness for nine weeks: trekking, camping, climbing, and rafting. There are eight teenagers in the group: Troy, Fred ...more
Jennifer Carafa
Apr 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
This book was absolutely crazy. The main character a girl named Jessie was placed in a trouble makers camp by her father. There a man by the name of al was in charge. At the camp they had to complete task like climbing up mountains and other kinds of trials in the woods. At one point they went rafting which Jessie and all her other trouble making friends loved. They soon decided that they wanted to steal Al's boats and supplies and go illegally without a permit to travel down the Colorado River ...more
Oct 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Sarah by: Mr. Barber
This book was one of the books my teacher made us read during this school year. My friend read it when i was reading Tuesdays with Morrie and he said Downriver was really good. And it turned out it was.

Down River is about this camp kids go to that might be in trouble with the law or if their parents just want to send them to this camp. They all go river rafting for one of their trips and it turned out that the teens liked it so when their camp instructor went into the gas station all of the cam
Abby Johnson
Oct 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
Jessie is put out when her father forces her into a "wilderness therapy" program. He's convinced she's hanging out with the wrong crowd and is on a path to self-destruction. Jessie knows that if he would just get off her back, things would be okay. Camp is pretty lame, but things take a turn for the better when Jessie and her new friends decide to set off on their own rafting down the Colorado River. But can these kids survive the rapids without their guide?

The story, rife with adventure, explor
Mar 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
In 7th grade, Will Hobbs came to my Jr High School and held an assembly. I was so taken with the man (who could communicate with my age group in a non-condesending manner yet maintain maturity) that the only thing I asked for for Christmas that year were his books, particularly Downriver. My mother's friend did one better, she sent for signed copies.

Then I read Downriver. I'm not sure how he did it, but Will tapped into my life and wrote about it. The strange thing is, for years after reading D
Mary Anne Trunnell
Jan 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
I was fairly interested and excited to read this. However, all in all, this wasn't that great of a read. It was fun to escape to white rapids and raging rivers, but I didn't connect very much to the characters, story, and "morals." The ending was sugar-coated chocolate dipped in a vat of molasses with giant sugar cubes dumped on top. I don't really know what I wanted the end to be, but I felt it was far too neatly tied up and sickeningly sweet. But, at the same time, I did want a happy ending, m ...more
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
I read this book randomly when I was in high school and then forgot about it. But reading it likely planted seeds of wanting to raft the Grand Canyon. I read it again just now, after actually rafting the Grand Canyon as an adult. It was the perfect mix of YA plus outdoor adventure plus personal nostalgia for the canyon itself. I'll have to check out other Will Hobbs books now!
Kelly Boehm
Feb 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
General response/reaction:
I enjoyed this book and have even considered reading the sequel to the book.

Subject, Themes, and Big Ideas:
- Surviving the Teenage years
- Making the right or wrong decision and its consequences
- Growing up
- Affects of a parent re-marring after their spouse has died
- Following the leader vs. being a leader

Jessie: The main character who the story is told from the point of view of. She is in the program with the other characters because she has been acting out e
MacKenzie Barry
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it

Downriver by Will Hobbs is a classic action packed adventure. The main character Jessie is sent by her dad on a discovery camp with juvenile delinquents as her companions and campmates. During their trip, the group rock climbs, whitewater rafts, and most importantly, learns things about themselves. Through his stylistic and to the non superfluous writing, Hobbs leads the way to self discovery not only in his characters, but in the readers themselves.
Throughout Jessie’s trip, she becomes close
Theo Bragstad
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humanities
Downriver by Will Hobbs is an electrifying book that hooks you from the start. When a group of troubled teenagers decide to raft down the Grand Canyon on their own, you feel as if you’re with them in the boat for every whitewater turn and all the big drops looming ahead. It’s a classic adventure book with twists (literally) and never stops exciting you.

The fiction book starts when a group of eight teenage troublemakers are sent to Discovery Unlimited, a camp that’s goal is to help kids “discover
Andrew B
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Will Hobbs
204 Pages
Downriver is an adventure book by Will Hobbs. The main character of the story is Jessie. Jessie’s dad sent her off to an outdoor wilderness camp for juvenile delinquents in the Southwestern United States. Jessie and the seven other teenagers at the camp decided they had enough of listening to their camp counselor. They stole the van they were traveling in and ventured to the Colorado River to go whitewater river rafting through some of the toughest rapids in
Rachel Jackson
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Having already read the companion to Downriver, in which Jessie continues her rafting adventures on the Grand Canyon, I knew I needed to go back eventually and read the context and background for the relationships developed in River Thunder, the continuation of the adventures. I enjoyed Will Hobbs' writing in the latter book, and I was eager to read more of his work. Downriver was an equally fun read based on the story and language alone, but Hobbs also threw so many twists and turns at me as I ...more
Lonna Pierce
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fifteen year-old Jessie, angry at her dad & stepmom, acts out relentlessly and gets sent to Discovery Unlimited for a rehabilitating attitude adjustment. She and her six fellow delinquents of "Hoods in the Woods" learn climbing, rafting, and wilderness skills, but hate being told what to do. So they take the camp's gear and escape to run the rapids of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. What follows is a punishing trek through thunderous storms, cold, and level-10 white water rapids ...more
Rachel Moats
I read this book in 8th grade as assigned reading. And usually I despise assigned reading, but I loved this book! My English teacher had us read it interactively - she assigned different parts to different students in the class and she would narrate it. I loved that the characters were relatable to our little 14 year old brains and while they were going through stuff most of my classmates had never experienced, it was still easy to relate to the characters. I really want to reread this book now ...more
Flossmoor Public Library (IL)
This is an awesome young adult adventure book! It follows a group of teens through their journey in the Grand Canyon. After they steal rafting equipment from their supervising adults, the teens take off down the Colorado River toward adventure and freedom. While evading search parties they discover that their escapade can quickly turn deadly. Terrible rapids, freezing rain, injuries and strife make this book gripping and engaging for any reader. The equally good sequel is called River Thunder.

Jul 24, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
This was on my list from last summer of family audiobooks featuring survival stories. It's taking an awfully long time for the danger to get here: the main character is doing a lot of whining about her blended family, patently painting her parents as "evil" and verbalizing-- though failing to recognize-- her own poor choices. The supporting characters blend together into a background of "generic troubled teen." We didn't listen for more than an hour.
Conor Mooney
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Downriver is a story about a girl named jessie, who was sent to a wilderness program for troubled kids for 9 weeks. Jessie is a very adventurous and brave girl, who likes to be challenged by nature. At the program or camp they explore caverns and beaches, along the rapids of the Colorado River. throughout the story their is tons of conflict and lots of suspense. The story is fast paced and everyone goes by so quick making you want to read just a little further.
Karlie Lucas
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book back when I was in high school and have loved it ever since. The struggle of teens is real, and seeing it put down in words in such a poignant manner is just amazing. Will Hobbs has caught that struggle and takes you on a journey of self-discovery, with as many twists and turns as the Grand Canyon.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another great novel to teach in 7th/8th grade. MS students always enjoy the adventure story, and there's plenty to discuss around thematic ideas of friendship, love, loss, and leadership. I enjoy reading and teaching it year after year.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Read this novel for school and while it was written well and all, but it had no plot, unlikable characters and a boring, bland, and overall meaningless story
William Graney
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Probably intended for teenagers but I found it to be a very entertaining read.
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
More of a 3.5, really. Fun little adventure (:
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
It was quite dry and the plot varied little. I would not have read this on my own and I do not recommend it!
Madeline Lindley
Interesting storyline but lacks well-crafted writing.
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DOWNRIVER DANNY BOOK REVIEW 1 2 Mar 07, 2016 10:49PM  
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WILL HOBBS is the author of seventeen novels for upper elementary, middle school and young adult readers, as well as two picture book stories. Seven of his novels, Bearstone, Downriver, The Big Wander, Beardance, Far North, The Maze, and Jason's Gold, were named Best Books for Young Adults by the American Library Association. ALA also named Far North and Downriver to their list of the 100 Best You ...more

Other books in the series

River (2 books)
  • River Thunder
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