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

Crooked River

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  348 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
The year is 1812. A white trapper is murdered. And a young Chippewa Indian stands accused.

Captured and shackled in leg irons and chains, Indian John awaits his trial in a settler’s loft. In a world of crude frontier justice where evidence is often overlooked in favor of vengeance, he struggles to make sense of the white man’s court. His young lawyer faces the wrath of a s
ebook, 272 pages
Published December 18th 2008 by Yearling (first published 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

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

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Crooked River, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Crooked River

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Ron Davidson
Not the kind of book I would normally read, but it was discussed at work for its historical context. I was hoping for a little more historical depth, but it's probably not fair to expect that from a YA book. The book is a good observation about racism and prejudice, and overcoming it.
Dan Rogers
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Historical Fiction book by Shelley Pearsall was quite interesting and enjoyable to read. Rebecca Carver, a 13 year old girl lives in a one room cabin with her Pa, her sisters Laura (age 17) and Mercy (age 3), brothers Lorenzo (age 11) and Amos (age 19), and cousin George (age 21?). As you might expect, living on the edge of the frontier, the settlers of this small community encounter Native Americans quite often. As the story begins the men of the village have arrested a Native American for ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda C.
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My sister who lives in Cleveland told me about Shelley Pearsall after she met her at an elementary school presentation where Shelley talked to the kids about her books. She showed the kids all of her rejection letters as she tried to get her work published. Shelley writes about Ohio, a state which I am nuts about. As a writer too, I'm always happy to know I am not alone in my struggle to be published. What better reason than those to read a book.

Crooked River is a young adult novel set in 1812 i
Ben Siems
Jul 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Ben by: see review
This book was recommended to me by an eleven-year-old actress and member of the Ojibwe nation in Minnesota. We became acquainted when she joined the cast of a theater-dance fusion work for which I had been commissioned to compose the sound score.

Not surprisingly, the book, a work of historical fiction, is aimed primarily at juvenile audiences. The prose is for the most part simple and direct, short on nuance and layering of meanings. Also, Pearsall's blending of the idiomatic expressions of the
Sep 12, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book was ok i dident realy enjoy it because it never realy hooked me and when i was reading it i felt bored and not iterested in the book
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have recently become a HUGE fan of this author. She writes everything from amazing historical fiction to contemporary fiction, to stories based on current, real-life events. I first became aware of her when her book ALL OF THE ABOVE showed up on the Maud Hart Lovelace Award Nominee list for 2010-11 in Division II (5th -7th grade).

If you are a middle school or young adult reader, or you know one, these books are excellent. ALL OF THE ABOVE is based on the true story of a middle school class in
Patrice M.
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, ya
Sometimes a quick YA read is all you need. Set in 1812 Ohio, where the conflict between white settlers and the native people is evident. Fourteen year old Rebecca and her sister Laura (17) are in their cabin home with a Indian prisoner in their loft. He has been brought by her father to be tried for murder of a trapper. Expresses the limits of life by society for women and the loss of the native's hunting grounds and homes to the farms of settlers.
Sandy Sopko
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hf-middle-grades
I have been reading parts aloud to my students (class novel), and we just enjoyed an amazing visit from the author. We read the chapter with the snowshoe testimony and my students were rapt (okay, so I like to adopt voices for different characters and dramatize just a bit...) and they were jumping out of their seats when the chapter came to a close with anticipation for what will happen next! Several said they felt they were living it right now. I credit Pearsall's wonderful character developmen ...more
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the very few books where I read everything from the dedication to the very end including acknowledgements, about the author, bibliography (yes, there is a biblio on this one), about Crooked River, and Reader's Theater.

In this book, Shelley Pearsall weaves a new story from reports, diaries, and events from spring 1812. The blurb tells of a Native American held captive in the log home of an Ohio settler family. The story is mostly told from the point of view of Rebecca (aka Reb), t
Dreaming of seeing my own books in bookstores one day, I find myself consciously wondering sometimes, what makes me pick a book up from the shelf? What makes me look at the blurb on the back? And then what makes me buy? Unfortunately what makes me buy is all too often influenced by whether the book is cheap, and some of my most treasured finds have been remaindered hardbacks.

Crooked River was a hardback remainder with a beautiful cover. Purple clouds (I like purple) loom in a black-lit sky and
Oct 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nicole
I thought this book was quite good!! And thank god, because I have been reading some not-fantastic stuff lately.

This book was about life on an Ohio settlement town and how they treated the Native Americans that were really there prior to their settlement. The people of the settlement capture and imprison a Native American man who they think murdered one of their trapper buddies. The rest of the book is about getting to know the man and then the trial.

I learned a lot in this book, and I love to l
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
amazing book ever
Abby Johnson
Rebecca is appalled when her Pa brings home an Indian and locks him up in the attic. She's terrified of Indians in general and her Pa says that this Indian is a murderer. But when she screws up her courage to bring the Indian some food, she begins to realize that maybe he's not as terrifying as she thought. Then a young lawyer comes to their cabin claiming to be friends with the Indian. He's going to defend "Indian John" at his trial. Rebecca knows that there is no chance Indian John will be fou ...more
Xitlalli Cabrera
Nov 27, 2016 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Xitlalli by: I recommend it to myself
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Susan Kunkle
Rebecca Carver lives in the Ohio Valley with her widowed father and many siblings. Her father, Major Lorenzo Carver is a prejudiced, verbally abusive,and a bitter father who does not have a kind word to say about anyone. He takes justice into his own hands when a white trapper is found murdered. He captures a Ojibway Indian and shackles him, binds him and holds him captive in the loft of Rebecca's home. She and her sister, Laura are frightened of this strange man, but gradually come to understan ...more
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Please keep in mind that if I was going to select a genre to read for the rest of my life it would be historical fiction. If I had to narrow that down even further it would specifically involve Native Americans and pioneers, so this books screams everything that I love. Even with that said this book is still amazing. The story has been done a lot of times, due to their race/class someone is accused of murdering/killing/betraying someone from a higher class. The way this story is written though i ...more
Karen Ball
A story of prejudice and courage told in alternating voices, Crooked River is set on the American frontier of Ohio in 1812. Rebecca and her four brothers and sisters live in a small cabin with their father, a violent and short-tempered man. Pa is one of them men who brings back Indian John to town for trial in the murder of a white trapper – only there is no jail in town, so Indian john is chained up in the family’s attic. Rebecca begins to question who is right and who is wrong as she sees evid ...more
Jennifer W
A good story. I liked the alternating points of view between Amik and Rebecca. Rebecca felt very real as she learned that different doesn't necessarily mean bad, and people she respects and/or fears can lie when it serves their purposes. I also liked the author's note at the back about how this was based on a real trial of a Chippewa accused of killing a white man. The only thing that I didn't like was the maturity of the tone of the story. I think I would have ate this story up at about 8 or 9 ...more
Kate Lacy
Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crooked River is a real place -- the story is based on real events. A young girl views the limits of a lifetime as she assists in feeding an Indian man held captive for some time as settlers deliberate his fate. The style of two voices speaking is outstanding as is the poetic form of interpreting the Indian's observations. This book is appropriate for children of all ages and for anyone who reads middle grade literature or historical fiction, and wants to look at pioneer America from another poi ...more
Tyler Ward
This book was O.K., but I didn't really like it. It's all about an Indian named John that is accused of killing a white trapper. He is going to be put on trial for murder and if he gets convicted, he will be sentenced to hang. Rebecca is trying to save him, but all the town is against John, so in the end, he is sentenced to hang. Rebecca doesn't like this, so she goes and cuts the rope he will be hung on. The rope ends up breaking when John is hanged and he escapes from the whites. I learned tha ...more
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to really get into this book, but after I got to know the main character a little better (when the trial started), I was hooked. Other reviewers have described this book as a mix between Laura Ingals Wilder's Little House books and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. I think this is an apt description, and it probably explains part of why I enjoyed this book so much. Those other titles are some of my all-time favorites!
I read this three years ago in fifth grade. I really enjoyed this book but I hated how the whites would be so cruel to the indian. They threw fruits at him because he was a different race!!! Talk about cruelty!!! I am a different race and if someone threw something at me or disliked me because I am differet; I would stand up for my rights!!! I love the plot and I only gave it 3 because of the cruelty. Unlike Hatchet, this was a pretty good book in reading class!
Apr 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This ia a historical novel set in 1812. An interesting look at the times and lives of people on the frontier in this era and the dilemma of 13 year old Rebecca when an Indian is jailed in her attic awaiting trial for a murder he didn't commit.

I learned that choices to right wrongs are not always easy and that justice at that time was different for Indians.
Mar 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent young adult/juvenile historical fiction with well-drawn memorable characters faced with moral dilemmas. Takes place in 1812 when a native american is accused of murder and a show trial (similar to To Kill a Mockingbird) is held to sanction his execution. A young girl must decide to break the law so justice will be done.
Oct 02, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, fiction
So, this book is just about the trial of Indian John and if he survives...or not. That's it. I didn't like it too much. It was okay. At least it kept my interest throughout the book. I had to read it for Language Arts.

So, I think it just represents the hypocracy (sorry if I spelled that wrong) of man. That's the good part. I also liked the poetic parts of when Indian John was speaking.
Mar 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a pleasant surprise. It is one of this years grade 6-9 Black-eyed Susan nominees, and that was wh I read it. Amazingly enough, it also fit the 8th grade Social Studies/Accelerated Reader project for the second semester (book that takes place in the 1800-1900s). It was basically about an incredibly unfair murder trial.
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rebecca's father brings Amik, a Native American accused of murder, into their 1812 Ohio settlement town. While waiting for trial, their family’s attic becomes the jail and Rebecca and her sister are expected to care for Amik. Everyone assumes he is guilty, but Rebecca begins to wonder and to plan.

Aug 16, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cleveland history buffs, native american history buffs
Very interesting tale of a true crime, a Native American accused of killing a white man in early Ohio frontier days, and the girl who befriends him. Told in alternating points of view, with the Native American character's voice in verse (poetry). Will he be sentenced to death, or will he live?
Elaine Hoffer
May 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was an OK book. I think it was written well. Middle school kids seemed to like it. It was something I probably would not have picked but enjoyed it. Interesting way to write a book with both prose and poetry.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
crooked river 1 0 Jan 27, 2008 06:16PM  
  • Yankee Girl
  • Worth
  • MVP*: Magellan Voyage Project
  • Shackleton's Stowaway
  • A Friendship For Today
  • The Legend of Buddy Bush
  • Per-Bast: A Tale of Cats in Ancient Egypt
  • My Bad-Boy Summer
  • Divided against Yourselves (Spell Weaver, #2)
  • Soldier Bear
  • The Toadhouse Trilogy (Book #1)
  • Don't Let the Wind Catch You
  • The Loud Silence of Francine Green
  • Coyote Winds
  • War and Watermelon
  • Redemption
  • On Dark Shores: The Lady
  • My Name Is Sally Little Song
I grew up in a blue-collar suburb of Cleveland called Parma where I used to write stories in a bedroom closet (aka my writer’s office). I tried to get my first novel – a 40 page handwritten story called “I am the Only One Left” - published when I was thirteen. As you can probably guess, it was rejected!

It took about twenty years before I finally had my first published book, Trouble Don’t Last (Kno
More about Shelley Pearsall...

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »