River of Ink: Genesis

(66 reviews with an average rating of 4 out of 5)

Publisher: Hachette Children's Group

Some people believe that when you drown, your whole life flashes before you.

However River Boy doesn't drown, he fights - and is washed up on the banks of the River Thames, unable to find his voice or memory. When a kindly doctor at the hospital gives him paper and a pen to try to help him communicate, the only things he can draw are strange visions and mysterious symbols.

Kassia is another struggling teenager - home-schooled by her overbearing mother, who is determined she must become a doctor. Thankfully, she also has a supportive older brother, Dante, who believes she should stand up for herself and follow her own dreams. Then the caring doctor decides to try to help both troubled teenagers, by asking Kassia's family to foster River Boy. But as River Boy's visions become clearer, his mysterious past leads him and Kassia into very real danger…

The portrayal of a deaf character is extremely successful. The author's knowledge of deafness shines through in her attention to detail, as she illustrates the value of friends and family taking the time to learn sign language, while also highlighting some of the challenges and ignorant attitudes that can be encountered. Dante is strong, funny and very likeable - an important and very convincing member of the cast.  

This story is fast-paced and action-packed, with plenty of mystery and symbolism, transporting the reader to the time of alchemists and 'magic' potions.

An exciting first book in a trilogy.

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