Parents' Guide to

The River Between Us

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Civil War realism for young readers.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 1 parent review

age 11+

More than just a Young Adult novel.

I read the River Between Us two years ago for the very first time. It's a short YA novel, which meant it wouldn't take long to read, however I underestimated it's power of engagement and the impact the tale would have on me. This book is not a YA book alone, it is a fantastic book for adults as well. It covers a side of American history rarely discussed. The characters are powerful in unique and believable ways. Human heroes exist through out the tale, and the candid presentation of American view points during the civil war is fantastic. It is now a regular book that I re read to keep it's lessons fresh in my mind.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (4):

Rarely has war in general, and the Civil War in particular, been portrayed so clearly and realistically for young readers. Perhaps only in Gary Paulsen's Soldier's Heart, which spanned the war and many battles. Peck offers not a sweeping view, but rather a sliver -- the hospital and camp in Cairo just before the Battle of Belmont. It's an ugly sight, and not one that will leave any reader in doubt about the glory of war. When they arrive, Noah is sick with dysentery, but getting him well may be a mistake -- health is a ticket into hell.

All of this is done with Peck's trademark razor-edged prose. Few modern authors, for adults or children, wield a pen with the surgical precision Peck brings to every sentence. There's a cadence to his paragraphs that speaks of long experience and attention to detail, and that carries his passions in succinct and poignant rhythms.

Book Details

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