Friday, 17 April 2020

Emma Rea - My Name is River - Book Review - FireFly Press - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books


Dylan's mum thinks he's on the school Geography trip. Dylan's teacher thinks he's at home with the flu. In fact, he's 30,000 feet up in the air on the way to Brazil. When Dylans' farm is snatched away by a huge global company, he can't just sit back and watch. But the journey to rescue his home takes him deep into the heart of the Amazon. With Floyd, a friend he's not sure of, and Lucia, a street kid armed with a thesaurus and a Great Dane puppy, he uncovers dark and dangerous secrets which learns some surprising truths.


My Name is River is by middle-grade author Emma Rea. It's been published by FireFly Press with the support of the Welsh Books Council. This book should, hopefully, be published this summer (June 2020). It has a magnificent cover which, in my opinion, fits the story perfectly inside. It's not very often that the match between the book cover and story is so in-tune but this is spot on. You certainly get the flavour of the narrative before you even delve into the pages. The book cover has been brilliantly illustrated by Brittany E Lakin who has worked her magic on it. Check out her website for more great illustrations. https://www.brittanyelakin.com

The story starts as slowly as the sloth in the book but it soon explodes into a big cat adventure. Full of colour, smells, and well-researched places it develops into an authentic and atmospheric adventure. This ecological read is buzzing with descriptive realism - the flavour and the feel of the writing is brilliant. 

Set in initially in Wales, the characters soon find themselves on a plane partaking in an overseas adventure. They find themselves in a dramatic situation trying to save a farm from a large Pharmaceutical company whilst at the same time solving a mystery in locating Dylan's missing family members. These two elements provide much tension ending in a climatic finish which is both thrilling and entertaining.

One element I particularly loved in the story was the introduction of English slang words. Lucia (Brazilian street child) had already learned a lot of the English language from a battered copy of an English Thesaurus but Dylan decided to teach her some slang words to widen her vocabulary further. It certainly added a lot of hilarity in the misunderstandings between the two trying to communicate as best they could with each other. 


This is a story for readers who love a good adventure starting in a school in Wales and ending in the South American Jungle. The plot fills the reader with hope, friendship and a moralistic tale that is warm, heartfelt and very enjoyable. As you follow the characters into a world of dark secrets and corporate wrongdoings, you will feel the bumps and scrapes as they try to evade capture and work everything out. There are some great ideas and some fantastic dramatic scenes that make you feel like the time has slowed for the reader and sped up for the characters. It's a fantastic slice of fiction from an author that I might not have had the chance of being introduced to. So many thanks to Firefly Press (publishing company) for sending me this book to review - it's very much appreciated. Happy Reading and stay safe. 

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