Gr 6-9-Dylan, 14, gets off a bus in Alpine, TX, expecting to meet his cousin Rio and Rio's father for the first time. Instead, he receives a phone message to hitch a ride to their remote town. Dylan, who's a bit of a worrywart, arrives in Terlingua to discover that his uncle, a river guide, has suddenly gone to Alaska for a few weeks' work. Rio is 15, but he's got 20 more pounds of muscle on him and about that much more bravado than Dylan. Both teens are pretty good at rafting, and after Rio convinces Dylan that he doesn't need to tell his parents that his uncle is gone, they set off on a 10-day ride down the Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande. It soon becomes clear that they will not only have to battle fierce waters, but also match wits with an evil criminal who bursts into their campsite with a bruised boy. The teens give Carlos and Diego some supplies and continue their rafting trip. When they meet up with the pair later, Carlos is desperate to get away from the authorities pursuing him and doesn't care who he has to kill to do so. This eye-popping tale will either turn readers on to the heart-pumping sport of whitewater rafting or completely scare them away. Descriptions of the water and the maneuvers the cousins have to make to survive in the aftermath of flash flooding and a terrible storm are riveting. The evolution of their friendship is realistically portrayed, and the bravery they show in trying to save the boy will make them heroes to readers.-Julie Shatterly, W.A. Bess Elementary School, Gastonia, NC (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Fourteen-year-old Dylan arrives in a West Texas ghost town to meet his uncle and his cousin Rio for a canoe trip down the Rio Grande. Though his uncle has left for Alaska, he and Rio undertake the hazardous journey on their own. Dylan has barely learned to deal with scorpions when a hurricane bears down on the region, and a ruthless Mexican kidnapper demands a ride downriver for himself and the boy he holds captive. The cousins' growing bond and quick wits become as important as their ability to maneuver treacherous waters. Narrated by Dylan, the story unfolds in a disarming manner. The pace is quick, and the challenges are relentless, but the writing is so grounded in physical details and emotional realism that every turn of events seems convincing within the context of the story. A double-page map enables readers to trace the boys' journey along the Rio Grande. An exciting adventure story in an unusual setting.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist