Grade 5-8–Pearsall quickly engages readers with her captivating tale of fear, ignorance, and bravery on the Ohio frontier. The year is 1812 and 13-year-old Rebecca Carver is driven hard to help her older sister, Laura, make up for the loss of their mother. Terrified of their abusive and violent-tempered father, the girls care for the family silently and dutifully until a prisoner, an Indian who is accused of murder, is chained in their loft. Although surrounded by a family and town overflowing with an unabashed hatred of Indians, Rebecca slowly begins to believe in Amik's innocence and defies her Pa, her family, and her settlement in order to see justice done. The unique sharing of narration between Rebecca and Amik further opens the mind to the injustices and inhumanity suffered by this country's Native people. Packed with believable characters wrapped in a thoroughly researched plot,Crooked River
is a must-read for fans of historical fiction and would aptly serve as a discussion-rich tool for American studies.–Kimberly Monaghan, formerly at Vernon Area Public Library, IL
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