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4.19  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  20 reviews
When things go bad at home, sisters Eleanor and Mike hide in a secret place under Eleanor’s bed, telling monster stories. Often, it seems those stories and their mother’s house magic are all that keep them safe from both busybodies and their dad’s temper. But when their father breaks a family heirloom, a glass witch ball, a river suddenly appears beneath the bed, and Elean
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by Amulet Books
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4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  32 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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This was a hard book to follow. The fantasy part was confusing. The heart of the story was in the love that sisters Eleanor and Mike shared for each other. There is violence among the parents, but the girls find safety for themselves. They both have good friends and there are adults along the way they learn to trust.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous. Dark. Dread-filled. Beautifully written. Full of terrible truths, different kinds of magic, and the real complexities of sisterly love - and a hard-won hope by the end. To be entirely (embarrassingly) honest, I found it painful to read because ever since I had kids of my own, I've gotten massively stressed by reading emotionally intense kids-in-real-peril storylines. There were parts of this book where I couldn't breathe because I was so personally stressed by my fear for these kids, a ...more
A touching story about two sisters growing up in a house where "house magic" always fixes the things that get broken in their father's rages... until it doesn't, and the girls must find their own powers. I especially liked their growing relationship with their grandmother, and the hopeful but realistic ending. A good book for readers who like stories where reality and fantasy sit side by side.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this book. This book deals with a difficult subject with grace and without sugar coating the reality of the struggle and challenges the main character faces. The ending pulled at my heart so much that I started reading from beginning again as I too wasn't ready to leave the secret world that Wilde had carefully crafted.
A beautiful book. Creative, compassionate, heartbreaking, and eventually heart-healing. This is a vivid fantasy novel that will appeal not only to fans of magic but also to readers like me, who love character-driven realistic novels most, because the rich relationships between sisters Eleanor and Mike and their friends and family members are at the heart of the book. It’s an especially empowering read for anyone who’s ever feared they have something ugly or shameful deep inside themselves (which ...more
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to be able to read an advanced copy of Riverland. It was amazing. I am a fan of Fran Wilde's writing, and I think this is her best work yet. The characters and story are very compelling. It was one of those books that I read and read until it was done and then I was sorry I had read it so fast as I didn't want it to be over. While this book is "middle grades," I found it to have enough brilliance and emotional content that adults will enjoy it, too. It deals with hard things, ...more
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-paper
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." - Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

My reaction to this book is deeply personal. From its opening passages, which I found excruciatingly familiar, I felt a kinship with the rituals of safety- the house rules, and the magic that these rules invoke for making a fragile home "peaceful." Anyone who knows what it is like to not be able to explain to a friend why they can't come to your house, especially without advance planning.
Fafa's Book Corner
Mini review:

Trigger warning: Mention of bad temper regarding the MCs father. Up till the point I read.


I received this E-ARC via Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was really looking forward to reading this book! Unfortunately I didn’t like it.

To put it simply I started losing interest while reading. I couldn’t wrap my head around the beginning and while I wanted to read more, I couldn’t bring myself to.

I still recommend.

Jeremy Brett
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Riverland is a glorious addition to the fantasy ouevre of Fran Wilde, who has already given the world works of fiction -both long and short - that are singular in their beauty and depth. Her latest book, the YA novel "Riverland", is beautifully written, emotional, and fierce in its portrayal of sisterly love as a source of strength and renewal. Wilde has given her whole heart to this story, and it shows in so many ways - in the psychological strategies of children to survive and cope in an abusi ...more
Kelly Blount
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A magical read that touches on the very real=life topic of domestic violence. While Riverland is aimed at the middle grade reader, the content is also extremely relatable and appropriate for young adult and adult readers. This book shows the real life consequences of living with abuse in the home and as the writer shares, she hopes her work will be accessible on a bookshelf for those who need it most.

The author is a skilled writer and I enjoyed the flow of the story. The plot is solid and I loo
Annette Triner
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written and a much needed story.
2.5 rounded up to 3. I just couldn’t get into this one, even though I really wanted to. I applaud YA that gets readers into fantasy genre, and I hope this works for some young readers!
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Complete review posted at

What I did like about Riverland was the strong bond between the sisters Eleanor and Mike. Eleanor does her best to shield her sister from Poppa's outbursts and tempers, and she does what she can to make sure Mike still sees things in a child-like way, as she should. Eleanor has her own issues, though, because she feels helpless and powerless, and the way Poppa speaks to her hardly helps. She hopes to be brave and strong for others.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I had to sit with the story for a little while after reading it before I wrote this review, because there is so much I want to say.

First, young readers need more books like this--books that show them families are not always perfect and sometimes they they're broken and that's okay. Books about siblings finding strength in each other when things fall apart. Books that make you believe in magic even if that magic is just about trusting you are a good person who has flaws but th
Josh & Mara
Full review featured in bonus episode 1 of our monthly podcast, Hello Fellow Kids:

Note: review based on an advance reader's copy of the novel, which was provided without expectation of a review.

A so-so book that isn't afraid to tackle difficult topics head-on, Riverland blends suitably stressful home life scenes with an unclear fantasy world that ultimately detracts from the powerful core of the book's themes. This book provides a realistic and upsetting
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

So this book is a bit of a rough read—it’s about a girl in a physically and emotionally abusive home, trying to protect her younger sister and herself, when a river to a magical place appears under her bed. There is some good stuff here about learning to trust, and I liked the relationship between the sisters, but I wanted a bit more from the ending. B+.

A review copy was provided by the publisher, this book will be released in April.
Jes Smith
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Middle grade fiction, dealing with hard topics of anger and feelings in oneself and in families. The message and theme of the book are important, but the pacing was off. Needed a little levity amongst all the hardness.
Morgan Joyner
Though initially delighted to get my hands on an advanced copy of Riverland, I soon felt burdened by the task of getting through what I had expected to be a fun and fast read. It strikes me as one of those books that simply should have been better. The author seems to be smart and a good writer. She presents an interesting concept with lots of unique elements to make it stick out, but somewhere in the writing process it must have just fallen apart.

The way the story unravels is the real heart of
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Riverland is one of those tender middle grade books. While it's a story about magical places, of battles between nightmares and dreams, at the heart of this story is the relationship between Eleanor and Mike - their fear and love - as they navigate their family and their father's temper. Faced with a reality of rules, house magic, and broken dishes, Eleanor tells Mike stories in their
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Fran Wilde writes award-winning speculative fiction and fantasy. She can also tie a number of sailing knots, set gemstones, and program digital minions. She reads too much and is a friend of the Oxford comma. Her short stories appear in Asimov's, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, Uncanny, and

Fran's debut novel, Updraft, was nominated for a 2015 Nebula Award, won the 2015 Andre Norton Awar
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