The River: Grades 7-8

ISBN: 1561376116
ISBN 13: 9781561376117
By: Gary Paulsen

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Adventure Childrens Currently Reading Fiction Realistic Fiction Series Survival To Read Ya Young Adult

About this book

We want you to do it again." These words, spoken to Brian Robeson, will change his life. Two years earlier, Brian was stranded alone in the wilderness for 54 days with nothing but a small hatchet. Yet he survived.Now the government wants him to go back into the wilderness so that astronauts and the military can learn the survival techniques that kept Brian alive. Soon the project backfires, though, leaving Brian with a wounded partner and a long river to navigate. His only hope is to build a raft and try to transport the injured man a hundred miles downstream to a trading post--if the map he has is accurate."From the Paperback edition.

Reader's Thoughts


A sequel so disappointing it actually takes away from my enjoyment of the original. The premise here is so implausible as to be laughable, if it weren't so painful. (spoiler alert)Seriously? The government has nothing better to do than enlist a CHILD to RELIVE his most harrowing life event, from which he very nearly didn't survive, and whose survival HE HIMSELF attributes to luck? They couldn't just, you know, ask about it? And, of course, the plot is moved along by... lightning. Right. And, of course, survivalist boy has to save the day! Of course he would never think to toss old coma-pants to the raging surf below! He can construct a raft in a single day! He can go without food or sleep for a week! He can remain good and caring and not a bit cranky! And, of course, no harm done in the end.The writing style, which is repetitious and a little silly even in Hatchet, now makes exactly NO SENSE since hero-boy HAS SOMEONE TO TALK TO. It was forgivable in Hatchet, since it gave a sort of stream-of-consciousness effect that worked for me.

Ephraim Burrell

Brian Robeson has returned from the wild and is living at home with his mother after 54 days of being in the wild. However, this is not the end of his story, a government official comes to him and asks to return back to the wilderness so they can learn more about what it takes to survive. A river, lightning, and running out of time are all included in this wonderful sequel to "Hatchet"This book was by far the least favorite of my books from Gary Paulsen, not well combined, and seemed to be just thrown together, without a lot of cohesive meaning. However it does include Brian, and is important in the series. I would suggest this book only because it is a quick read, and it helps you to move onto the next book.

Bethany Venus

Two years ago, Brian Robeson survived fifty-four days alone in the wilderness with only a hatchet. Now the government wants him to do it again so that they can learn the skills that he used. Derek Holtzer, a psychologist, accompanies Brain into the wilderness to learn and take notes on all of Brain's knowledge and skills. However, when a terrible storm rages and Derek is struck by lightning, Brain must face the terrible job of fending for himself and getting Derek to someone who can help him. I think the concept of having Brain go into the wilderness again is a compelling idea. It forces Brian to remember and deal with everything that he went through in the past. We also see his determination and tenacity in leaving everything behind and finding a way to help Derek. My only problem with the book was that everything seemed too coincidental. For example, Brian comes upon part of the forest where beavers have been leveling trees to make their habitats at the exact time Brian needs to build a raft. The ending also came too quickly and was over two easily. I wish there had been more of an "after the climax" story. I would recommend this book to those who like outdoor and survival stories.

Cole C

Another book, another year, another life. In this book, The River (Sometimes called the third in the series) is another book about being stranded. This one is not an accident, it's on purpose. About two years ago Brian Robeson was stranded in the Canadian Wilderness for fifty-four days, yet he survived but all he had was his little hatchet. Government and military want Brian Robeson to go back into the woods while military finds out the overall technique about being stranded and how to find your way out. At first, Brian disagrees because questions are just going off in his head, "Will I survive this time? Will I be able to have the same knowledge as I had before?" Government officials talk to Brian and try to talk him into doing this. This all takes about three weeks to figure out but Brian agrees to take the challenge of a world-long adventure. Brian and Government officials are sometimes working together. Brian is my favorite one of all because he puts up a fight and never let's go. He sacrifices life and limb to do this one job for someone who almost doesn't even care as much for him, just his money and military.I'd recommend this book to higher level readers; such as 6th to 8th graders, maybe even ninth graders. I say this because there is a little bit of violence in this book, such as when Brian falls of his 'canoe' and is bleeding everywhere. Also some grammar might not be suitable for younger children. Viewer discretion is advised.

Mark Wilkerson

Hatchet was one of my favorite books as a young boy; it fed my desire to travel far away from my suburban existence to face the unknown. And here was a boy forced into extraordinary circumstances who survived! I didn't care that it was fiction and highly unlikely at times. I teach Hatchet now to my 7th graders and they enjoy it (especially the boys) for the same reasons I did.I only recently discovered that Gary Paulsen wrote several sequels to Hatchet, three now to be exact. So I re-read Hatchet and then prepared to continue on new adventures into the wild with Brian Robeson; except that, from the first page, something about this story is not quite right.It starts with a ridiculous premise: A team of adults comes to Brian to admit that "we (being THE Army, THE astronauts, very vague here) pretend to survive. But nobody in our field has ever had to do it....We want you to teach us. Not from a book...but really teach us." This is just too much to believe. Having been in the U.S. Army, I can say that there is little here that Brian could actually teach a group of specially-trained adults about survival. But, I understand, it's a YA book, the premise can be silly (I guess, though I expect better from Paulsen); nevertheless, I soldiered on. Soon enough, Brian finds himself with an odd companion in the wild. I say "odd" because he is with a psychologist, you know, one with a PhD, but this man speaks with child-like wonder and follows Brian around writing down all of Brian's thoughts and actions, however trivial they might be...and they are trivial, believe me! Anyway, disaster soon strikes the extremely child-like pyschologist and Brian is left to save the day, in a plot that winds and weaves and rolls lazily by like the river that this story is appropriately named after. This story is smaller in scope, covering a mere couple of days, one week at the most, whereas the first novel covered a span of nearly two months. Prepare yourself for that, readers, and be prepared for a let-down.There are some issues that I'm not used to experiencing in a Gary Paulsen story; there is no real tension in the story; no real build-up to a climax; no real character development of Brian or any at all from his companion. Part of what made Hatchet so readable was that Brian discovered something new about himself and about his environment every moment he was in the wild. Here, Brian just states words along the likes of 'I've been here before." So have I, the reader, and I expected more. This feels like a cash-grab by Paulsen; there was no reason for this book to be written. I hope for better from the other sequels, and, again, I expect better from Gary Paulsen...


This book is very similar to Hatchet. Its a great survival book for young teens. Its not as tense as Hatchet. This book is about Brain knowing how to survive on the land for weeks. They now want him to go with a partner named Derek to take notes to see how he has really survived. Trough the story Derek has a terrible accident. Derek gets into a coma and he has to get him medical assistance within six days. Brian builds a raft to take Derek down the river. Brian proved to every one that once again he could survive by himself.

Zach Costello

This is a very good book by Gary Paulsen. It is the next book in the Hatchet series. Brian is asked to go back into the Canadian wilderness to teach a man named Derek how to survive in the wild. A couple days into their adventure Derek gets hit by lightning and goes into a coma. Brian has to get him out of the wild to safety. Brian plans to build a raft and travel over 100 miles down river to a trading post. Can he do it without getting Derek killed? This is a good book for kids and adults who likes adventure and the wilderness.

Lisa Tortorello

After reading Hatchet with my class this year, they showed a great interest in learning more about the character of Brian Robeson. This prompted me to read The River with my class as well. Gary Paulsen does an excellent job sharing the trials and triumphs Brian encounters when he is asked to go back to the wilderness to show government psychologist Derek Holtzer how he survived. Brian is convinced of two things: going back in the wilderness is insane and he has no choice about going back in the wilderness if it may help someone else in the future. Once they arrive, Brian feels that this time everything is too staged and too perfect until Derek ends up being struck by lightening which results in him being in a coma. Brian now has to think on his feet not only for his survival, but for that of Derek's as well. Paulsen captures the reader with his story and details and makes you feel like you are right along side Brian in his quest to survive!The character of Brian Robeson is one that middle school students can identify with and the lessons Brian learns and teaches the readers throughout his stories are timeless.

Dauntless Firebending Shadowhunting Glittery Mango Fangirling Warlock (Ealee)

Again, this story is realistic and makes sense. I usually don't read realistic stories that contain no fantasy or anything like that in it, but certain survival stories are exceptions. The River is as good as Hatchet. The entire book sets two challenges because now, he has to try to survive all over again. But the other things is, he has to keep someone else alive too.


In this book, Brian Roberson had been out of the forest for a year. He had been trapped in the middle of nowhere for almost fifty days. Now, a year later, people from the government are coming to his house asking him to do it all over again. They are from a survival organization and want to really learn how to survive. When Brian agrees, he sets off to the jungle with the director of the program. Only when they arrive something goes wrong. Now Brian will really have to survive all over again.One connection I can make to this book is text-to-text. The book that this reminds me of is "Before We Were Free" by Julia Alvarez. In that book, the main character had to pretty much survive on her own. If she made one mistake, everything would be ruined and her whole family could be killed. Brian's situation is very similar.I gave this book three stars. The reason I gave it this rating is because I thought it was pretty good for the most part. The author really went into details and made me want to read more.


I would give this book two and a half stars. One of the really good things about The River, in my view, is that it doesn't feel at all contrived. In a sequel such as this to a famous novel it would be very easy to create a situation that once again brings the main character into crisis by means that are far too unlikely and neat to be real, but Gary Paulsen has refused to fall into that trap. All of Brian's experiences in The River ring with true resonance, in the mesmerizing and compelling, painfully realistic wilderness style that has led so many readers to love the Brian books.The River might not quite live up to the quality of its predecessor Hatchet, but it surpassed all of my expectations for it, and provided a grounded yet thrilling look into real life in the wild as the proverbial lightning strikes twice in Brian's life. The story builds to an intense, action-packed climax and post-climax which live up to the reputation of Hatchet in almost every respect.The River is a very good book that provides a stark look into the life of one teenager as he faces the raw power of nature, for the second time. It also holds up a mirror, though, and gives to every reader a simple look at his or her own reactions to the situations, making one genuinely wonder how one's own reactions would unfold under similar conditions. It all adds up to a good story, and a worthy sequel.

Sam Schoenick

I read the book The River by Gary Paulsen. This book is an exceptionally good book. Gary Paulsen does a good job of describing the settings and what takes place in the book. The characters are very well described and fit the role in the book very well.Brian who is the main character in this book fits the role perfectly. Brian is a high school kid who was stuck in the wild in a book before this. Brian has a very strong personality and is very strong as an individual. Brian has had a lot of things put on his shoulders since he got out of the wild. Another character named Derek who is a scientist asks Brian if he wants to relive his experience in the wild. Brian does not know what to say to Derek. Derek is a very strong willed guy that will not give up when it comes to something big like he is forced to do now.During the book Brian has to decide if he wants to go back into the wild and relive his experience. It is a tough decision for Brian because he had to go through so much by himself. Brian decides to go through with the idea and he grows so much as a character going with another person. This book ends really good and has a strong influence on a lot of kids ages 14 to 18. Males would really like this book because there is a lot of action. This book has a rating of about 4 because there is a lot of good describing details and great characters to fit the roles.


This sequel to the classic book "Hatchet" has an interesting story. With people wanting to shoot a documentary for Brian's famous story, a man named Derek comes and asks him if He and Derek, would go back into the eastern Canada wilderness, with Derek taking notes for military survival techniques. Once both Brian and Derek make it to the vast Canadian wilderness, a few days after arriving a freak lightning storm causes major conflict, and causes them to lose their communication with the rescue squad. I chose to read his book because I absolutely loved the book "Hatchet", although I didn't think the sequel wasn't all that great, it was pretty good though. I thought that Gary Paulsen made a good storyline for this second book though, I mean for a sequel book, it wasn't that bad, I am really excited to read the third and fourth book in this series. I didn't really like the character Derek, if you read the book, you'll see what I mean, but I also didn't like the ending of the book, it could have ended with a better storyline, again, if you read it, you'll see what I mean Overall, this was a really good book, I could have been better, but it was a nice book. I am really interested if they will make movies for this series, but I'm not sure if they already have made movies for this series. I feel that just about anyone can read this book, it is a PG book you could say. There is no swearing, or anything bad, it really is a book that a school teacher could read to her elementary students, if she wanted too. There in nothing potentially offensive in this book at all! It has a very fun storyline for just about anyone! I really enjoyed this book.

Book Concierge

This is book two in the popular Hatchet series. It’s been nearly two years since Brian Robeson endured nearly two months on his own in the Canadian wilderness. The last thing he expects when he opens the door is some government types who bluntly propose, “We want you to do it again.” Of course this time, the men explain to his mother, Brian will have Derek, a government psychologist along, and they’ll be outfitted with survival gear, including a radio for emergencies. Of course, things don’t go exactly as planned and Brian must rely on his own intelligence, cool reasoning and reservoirs of strength and courage to get them safely back. Frankly, I thought it was just too contrived. Brian’s reactions ring true – fear, anxiety, disdain, worry, joy, and excitement are all present at various times. But since he’s not alone, there is far less time for him to think about his situation or what he misses, and that makes him more distant from the reader for much of the book. It seemed much more action-driven than the first book, and I just didn’t enjoy that as much.


Summary:This book was about brain in the last book it talked about him going on a plane and falling out of the sky the he survived in a deserted place and got out safely. This book is similar because at the beginning there is a person named Derick to see how he did it so he wanted brain to go out and do it again, but this time Derick would be at his side the whole time to take notes and if anything happened all he had to do was radio in. But then something tragic happened. The person that he was with fell into a coma and brain had to get him back within 6 days cause of a comma. He looks all over for stuff that can help him and he finds a map of just a river so he makes a raft and after a long time at sea he sees the top of a roof goes there saved by 2 men and a boy then finds out its a minor comma that derrick is in and he is saved.Assessment:I first read the back of the book and I found out it should by like Hatchet and I was right. It wasn't very predictable but when I got halfway through I wasn't very pleased that they made both books so similar. But the book did do a good job of not letting the reader know if they would survive or not. Also through the middle all it talked about really was him on the river and I think that could of been fixed in many ways. Finally I overall like the creativity of Gary Paulson for think everything up and actually adding an epilogue unlike other book that give you a good ending it just that the reader just wants to know/learn more about the story.Would I recommend this to others?:Heck No, this book was beyond boring. Even though it had a great, great story plot there just wasn't enough action. Its literally brain rowing a raft until he found some place that was inhabited by people. The book even says in the epilogue that he had bruises on his hand then he went to the hospital to get it fixed. Notice it said the Hospital that just shows how long the story was based on the river. In conclusion this could a great book with a lot of changes.

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