The Riverman By Aaron Starmer
What a wild book this is!
Twelve-year-old Alistair Cleary is befriended by one of the neighbourhood “weird kids” – Fiona Loomis. Fiona has a secret to tell Alistair and she trusts him not to tell – she is regularly transported to a fantasy world called Aquavania. In this magical place, Fiona, and the other kids who travel there, can create their own worlds from scratch and visit each other’s worlds when they are invited.
But Fiona fears for her life. Children from Aquavania have been disappearing – they go missing in Aquavania but never reappear in the “solid world” either. She learns that Aquavania has a monster – he’s called the Riverman, and he steals children’s souls. Once Fiona’s friends disappear, she thinks she might be next.
Of course Alistair does not believe Fiona’s crazy story at first. In fact, as he and Fiona become close friends, he comes to believe that her story is really a cry for help. Something terrible is happening to Fiona in the real world, and she is making up stories about it so she can share her burden.
As time goes on, Fiona’s story seems more and more plausible, and soon Alistair must help find the Riverman. He must be the one to save Fiona before it’s too late.
The suspense in this story builds steadily to a grand crescendo. Although the tale is dark, it is also set in an average suburban neighbourhood in 1989. It feels like these events could really take place and that anyone you know could be involved.
The Riverman is full of fantasy, friendship and the trials and tribulations of pre-teen kids. An excellent novel! Recommended for ages 11-13.