Since her older brother Theron disappeared from Quincely, N.H., several months ago, nothing seems right to 11-year-old River until she becomes friends with Meadow Lark and strange things start happening.
River’s good at wishing and hopes her brother will return. River knows she’s adopted, but she has no idea why she’s suddenly speaking differently, why her mind now wanders inside a mysteriously familiar house, why she wants to know her “real mama” or why she’s drawn to the river even though she’s afraid of water. Then Meadow Lark, a peculiar new girl, arrives, attaching herself to River, and the two loners bond, floating their wishes down the river, hoping they’ll come true. When Meadow Lark comes to stay while her father’s away, River’s excited but gradually comes to feel her friend’s taking over her place by the river, her bedroom and even her mother’s affections. River gradually realizes she must find answers to the secrets of her missing brother, her birth mother, the strange house, her fear of water and her extraordinary new friend if her wishes are going to come true. With its effective river motif, this realistic, quietly powerful story unfolds slowly in the words of its thoughtful heroine, who eventually finds the things she had lost.
A moving debut about secrets, wishes, friendship and trust. (Fiction. 9-12)