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Hobbs (Ghost Canoe, p. 557, etc.) reunites the characters of Downriver (1991) for this rapids-shooting adventure. Jessie and her adopted sister, Star, tough-talking Rita, macho man Pug, and later, wisecracking Adam all arrive ready to raft down the Grand Canyon's Colorado River, presumably at the invitation of Al, a tour outfitter; unfortunately, when the handsome and charismatic Troy also shows up, the teens discover that they've all been duped, Troy seeks to make amends for ruining their rafting the previous year, and so has made all the arrangements and paid for the group to go downriver again. Wary at first, the teens agree, and in no time they're shooting through curlers, suckholes, and rooster tails in a pulse-pounding narrative. Jessie, despite her fear, steers a raft down the river's 160 rapids in record-high water caused by a rough winter and careless management of damn spillage. Hobbs's familiarity with whitewater rafting provides authenticity, and while this bunch knows their sport, they nevertheless wind up in the soup more than once. While the crisis point of the novel seems a bit too altruistic--the neurotic Troy follows his better impulses and saves Rita from drowning--the story of these disparate youths coming together for an adventure that risks their lives and strengthens their hearts is ultimately uplifting.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Delacorte