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4.56  ·  Rating details ·  57 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Does she have a secret life? One even SHE doesn't know about?

Seventeen-year-old River has always felt like she doesn't belong. It doesn't help that she sees a light around people that reveals their true nature. When a new kid shows up at school who she can't read, something inside her breaks open, unleashing a wave of raw emotion and faint visions of an emerald-eyed boy th
Paperback, 292 pages
Published June 14th 2019 by Kyanite Publishing LLC
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Average rating 4.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  57 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Noelle Brighton
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I devoured this book in one sitting - I simply could not put it down and I was nearly in tears when I reached the end because I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know more! The world building is exquisite, the characters are compelling and engaging, and the story line has me hooked. When is the next book in the series coming??

River is an incredible mix of bad-ass and fragile, so flawed and yet so pure it is painful to follow her thoughts and feelings as you move through the story with her.
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disclosure: It’s rare for me to seek out YA/NA, but when I do, I pick the best out there. River met that challenge hands down leaving me frothing for more.

This mega novel debuts a 10 book series and starts off captivatingly strong (Read – you can’t put it down). Lesli builds a complex, fascinating world peppered with deliciously ambiguous heroes and villains. She combines a fairy tale high fantasy world with classic horror and a tantalizing taste of teenage angsty romance. The strong language an
Abbigayle Grace
May 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Ok. Here's the full review:

This book did not live up to the hype for me. I wanted to like it because I enjoy reading Ryen Lesli's writing style, which switches like lightning from a semi-no-nonsense approach to descriptions and to instant purple prose, and she clearly put tons of effort into the world/character building.

When it started out, I thought River would be a strong female protagonist who actually broke stereotype and was a real tough girl. Turns out all she needs is to find out she's a
D.M. Shepard
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Right off the bat I have a confession to make. Young adult is not my usual genre to read. I have never read Harry Potter, Twilight, or Hunger Games. I know, I can hear the gnashing of teeth and the clicking of buttons as people unfollow me. It is just not my thing.

So what the hell? Some of you may be asking. Why are you ARC reading/reviewing Ryen Lesli’s (AKA, The Witches’) River then?

To be frank, I was intrigued by her premise. Listening to her interviews and her description of what she wrote a
Becca Mathis
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I started this book last night just to get a feel for it and then was going to read more the next day. Instead, I spent THE ENTIRE NIGHT binge-reading this story. I REALLY loved how vivid all of the characters are and how vivid the settings are. It's such a well-done "fish out of water" story! So much wonderfully done twisty teen angst that kept me turning pages all night long until SIX IN THE MORNING. The theme of loss and recovery is pulled all throughout the book and
C.D. Storiz
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ryen Lesli's debut book, River, is an action packed adventure taking place in Muir Woods. River, a fast talking, sarcastic teen girl living in rural Georgia has her world knocked inside out. Literally. Most high school girls think they have it bad when they're late to French class or can't get a date to prom. But River's problems are nothing at all like the other girls in her high school. For one, River isn't actually human - she's a fae, and two, her mother happens to be their queen.

River has
Tracey Quintin
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5+ STARS!!
Okay how to write a spoiler free review?! There's SO much I want to say about this story that grabbed me from the very start and kept me thoroughly hooked throughout.
This book is long but so worth every delectable word. It's a page turning addictively woven tale you won't want to put down.
I absolutely LOVED each character and scene, all so vividly described so you FEEL like you're there, seeing the scenes and characters in person.
There is good and evil. You're taken to another world
A.R. Vagnetti
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Before I get into the nitty gritty of this book, let me preface by saying, young adult is not my usual go-to genre. Although, I must confess I read the Twilight series because you know, vampires, that’s my thing. 😊

River. Where do I begin? Let’s start with the characters, because great character development is the core to every remarkable book. Ryen nailed it! I love, love, love her main character River. This 17-year-old, and River is a teenager in every sense of the word, foul mouth and all, ge
Phebe Yawson
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So addictive

From the very beginning I was so completely emerged. The urgency to read every page, the dire need to have answers. This is the best YA book ever! I gotta go read it again!
Laura Hopgood
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having lived most of her life as an ordinary human, River’s life is turned upside down when she meets her best friend Skye’s intensely dark new boyfriend, Wicked and his twin, Ghost. Faced with danger, River is suddenly removed from the human world by her mother, forced to forget her whole life as a human, and forced to forget her friends from the human world. River is anything but ordinary. As River unsupresses, she discovers her powers, the world she truly lives in, and her true identity as a ...more
Rowena Tisdale
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Caveat: I DO NOT read YA fiction. I am not completely unfamiliar with the genre, as I read some with my children when they were in that phase of their reading adventures, and was not at all sorry when they outgrew it. So why did I read River, you may be wondering. I have family members that will soon be reaching the YA stage, and books make great gifts. As a discerning reader myself, I don’t want to give them anything unvetted. I’ve seen samples of this author’s other work, and found it intrigui ...more
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Did she say anything else?" River asked.

"'What was bound in the beginning, will stay bound to the end.'"

She broke out in goosebumps.

- Ryen Lesli, River

River is the first book I have read by Ryen Lesli. It is exciting, funny and suspenseful.

I have loved the character of River. She is a teen-aged girl with certain dreams about her own future. One day, she finds out she does not even know her and her loved ones' real identity. She struggles to accept and defy her pre-destined future.

The love-hate
D.K. Marie
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While I do love the occasional Y/A or N/A fantasy stories, I don't read them often. However, I've followed this author on Twitter for a while and fell in love with her writing style. So I jumped at the chance to read River.
I'm so glad I did, as I enjoyed the story immensely. Ryen's world building is fantastic, and diving into her ebb of Warriors and Fairs was a treat. I also love the uncurrent of romance running along with this story. I'm a total sucker for a love triangle and the one between R
Michael Nadeau
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Finally finished this great book. The author really drags you into another world and doesn’t let go. I’ll admit this isn’t my normal read, but even when it started to get a tad bit slow, it kicked back in with a vengeance. The book travels between the normal world and another one, giving you details even as the main character learns them as well. This was a really great way to let the readers know what was going on, as well as suck them into a society different than they are used to. All in all ...more
Samantha Chancellor
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am not a huge book reader and it’s hard to really hold my attention but this book held me. The Banyans is the world I want to live in! I actually felt jealous I wasn’t one of the characters! River is both exciting and moving, the amount of detail and time the author has put into the book is absolutely badass. The book touches your heart but somehow breaks it at the same time. I am so impatient for book two! When is it coming Ryen Lesli?!
Autumn May
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing! I am already dying for the next book. I could see this turning into a movie series. This book has it all: love triangles (#team wolf) teenage turmoil, mother vs daughter anguish, villans that keep you up at night, and a cliff hanger that keeps you wanting more!
N.W. Moors
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
River is your typical seventeen-year-old girl, hanging with her best friend Skye and living in hot dusty Georgia. She's not fond of Skye's new boyfriend, but it's when she finally meets him that her life turns upside-down. Her mother whisks her away to a new world and removes the suppression of her memories: River finds out she's a Fair and has power, she's a princess (not that she cares much), and oh, she's also bonded to Luca, a boy from her childhood. Luca is now a warrior named Wolf, and he ...more
T.M. Strait
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A River Dances Through It

Great read! Superbly combines high fantasy and teen angst. A great introduction to new worlds, filled with magic and wonder. River learns she is not the human she thought she was, but is one of the Fair, and Fair royalty at that. I look forward to more from this talented author!
Eric Lahti
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ryen recently released her first book, a dark fantasy romance about a young woman who finds herself plucked from the world she thought was home and dropped into a magical new world where things are, shall we say, different. Normally, I’d look at a plot like that and yawn, but Ryen handles it beautifully and introduces her own twists to the genre. It’s true, there really isn’t anything new under the sun, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a story and make it amazing with some sleight of hand an ...more
David J. Breeden
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When is a River not a River? This is a great beginning to a struggle of a young woman named River to find herself and love. The descriptions of the surroundings are very vivid which makes one feel they are there. The emotions are strongly written out to make one either wanting to comfort, help, or slap some of the characters. It is funny, serious, and very well written.
Crystal Kirkham
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Let's start with the elephant in the room. This young adult fantasy contains some swearing. If we're being honest, most teenagers swear. Some of them swear a lot. Even though I often write for adults, I can be honest in saying that there is not a lot of swearing in most of my books. No reason, I just don't. However, I have nothing against swearing when not used gratuitously in novels. Ryen uses the swearing effectively and appropriately for the characters and the situations.

I really found myself
Willie Handler
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just completed River and was very impressed by debut author Ryen Lesli. I should note that I don't read books like YA series like Harry Potter or Twilight, although I have read some YA novels. Also, I was provided an advance reader copy of River for an honest review.

Ryen has created an incredibly genuine and compelling character in River. She speaks and acts like an actual teen, which I don't typically see in other YA novels I've read. That is the strength of this book, a main character that is
Ashley Nicole
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
River has a second life she doesn’t know about. What happens when it sweeps in and changes everything she thinks she knows?

I jumped headfirst into this book without reading any descriptions, which is something I’ve been experimenting with lately.

This time I was blown away.

The author transported me into a complex world full of magic, love, and betrayals. I became swept up in following River as she tried to figure out who she really was and who to trust, who to love. I keep yelling at Wolf to give
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
It is hard to discuss this book without giving anything away. The story is about River, a teenage girl, living her teenage life with the slight problem of always feeling like she didn’t belong and the unusual gift of seeing others light. Little did she know her world will come crashing down and she would be thrust back into her old life that she doesn’t remember.

Fairs, witches, light and dark. I mean, what more can you ask for? Some things at first upset me a bit. The swear words threw me off a
Anniken Haga
Apr 29, 2019 marked it as dnf
I got a copy of this book from the author in exhanged for an honest review.
Unfortunatly, I am DNFing it.

In this case, it isn't the book that's at fault. It is actually rather interesting if you like YA and fay.
These aren't my genres, but usually I can see past that. Not this time. My life is a mess at the moment, and I just couldn't bring myself to care about the story, world, or characters.

So I won't force my way through a book that might actually be enjoyable at another time.
Anna Read
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
River’s world is vibrant and colorful and you see it and FEEL it from the moment you step inside it. I loved the soul mates aspect and the way the spirits of the characters could interact and speak outside their physical voices. The side character’s were memorable and relatable. And the villain is fascinating and chilling in equal measure. I’m bad at finishing books, but I finished this one! So many feels!
C.M. Chafin
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am glad I read this book, but unsure how to state how I feel. It made me uncomfortable, which in the way it is done is really amazing. I can definitely see this as a teenage girl. But the story also made me sad, because these strong females are being forced into submission because it is "the way it is", and I wanted to see River push back more (though, with her Spirit, I'm not sure that is possible?). I will definitely be reading on, but I also admit this book had me feel a lot of pain for the ...more
Jill Squire
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After reading RIVER I am eagerly awaiting Ryen Lesli’s 2nd book in the “Beginning of the End” series. I am frankly blown away that RIVER is Ms. Lesli’s debut book - it is a fantastic beginning to a series. I could not put it down and read the book from beginning to end in one sitting. The story is intriguing and keeps a great pace, the characters are well developed. She does not let the story get bogged down in the details of River’s new world, rather, she artfully weaves in the surroundings.

Laura Wilson
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
River begins a breathless journey into the unexpected life of a teenage girl. Discovering that neither she nor her mother are who she believed then to be thrusts River into a world both familiar and foreign. This is YA fantasy with an attitude and an edge, as well as a sense of humor. Romance, intrigue and plenty of angst abound, so if that's your cup of tea, grab this book and enjoy! ...more
Danielle Grace
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The portrayal of the title character in "River" accurately models the angst and attitude of a modern teenager. There is a stark truth in this tale that realistically mirrors the way teenage girls act, think, speak, and influence their peers in everyday life. It is refreshing to see an author not water down the behavior or thoughts of teenage girls. The story is fantastical without losing the edge of real-world familiarity.

Leslie's descriptions are detailed and vivid, providing the reader with fe
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