Where the river takes us is the story of four friends who go on a camping trip to find a big cat who is supposedly living in the nearby mountains. A reward of £100 is being offered for a clear photo. For Jason, it’s the opportunity he’s been looking for to help his brother, Richie.

About 10 months before the story begins, Jason and Richie’s parents die in a car crash. Richie is 18 and Jason 13. Richie is appointed Jason’s guardian. This changes the dynamic of their relationship. Aunty Pearl, a family friend, comes by about once a week to help with some chores and others in the town help out where they can, but Jason finds their sympathy unhelpful. Meanwhile, Richie is struggling with the household finances. The story is set in Wales during the miners’ strike in 1974 and Richie is only working three days a week.

Jason has two good mates, Jinx and Tam, who he spends a lot of time with on weekends and holidays. He’s also friends with the girl next door, Catrin, as they have known each other since birth and are about the same age. Initially, Jason is dismissive of the news reports about a big cat in the area, but when he realises the opportunity to make some money, the idea of a camping trip with his friends seems like a good idea.

Lesley Parr writes well and handles the issues of grief and loss realistically. The story does a good job of exploring the ongoing impact of tragedy from the perspective of a young teenager.

Thanks to Book Curator for providing a free book for review.

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