Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Crooked River; Valerie Geary

Crooked River; Valerie Geary
William Morrow - 2014

Crooked River tells the troubled tale of sisters Sam, 15 and Ollie, 10. There mom died recently and they are hoping to stay living in Oregon with their father Frank, "Bear", McAllister and his very unconventional way of life.  Bear lives in a teepee and the money he earns comes from raising bees and selling the honey.  The girls love their dad and like being with him, and their grandparents in Boston have agreed to a trial period to see how things work out for the girls living with their dad.

Soon after their mom dies the girls stumble upon the body of a woman floating in the nearby river, for whatever reason, the girls decided to keep their sighting a secret.  Especially after they find strange fresh scratches in "Bear's" face and hands that he doesn't want to talk about, and the fact he left the sisters alone the night before the body was found, and won't talk about where he was 

Soon evidence mounts against "Bear", who is seen as an outsider in the small rural community. Bear is arrested, but the sisters are determined to prove their dad is innocent. They begin some amateur detective work on their dad's behalf.  As the investigation begins, ghosts speak to Ollie, a girl so traumatized by her mother's death that she refuses to speak. When she does speak, others do not believe her. Her sister calls her a baby and does not believe spirits exist.

Narrated in short alternating chapters by Sam and Ollie, I enjoyed this coming of age mystery of sorts. I admired the sisters devotion to their father. The girls got themselves into some sticky situations, but because of their ages, it seemed both foolish and yet plausible. The characters well developed and I also liked the older couple who watched out for the girls. Overall, a very good debut novel.
4/5 stars
(review copy)


  1. I do think that the girls getting themselves in bad situations is more plausible due to their ages. This sounds like an interesting read and I'm glad to hear it was well done. Adding this to the (groaning) TBR pile!

  2. Sounds like quite an interesting story for those girls.

    1. Silly girls - can get themselves into sticky situations as you see with your sisters Brian.

  3. Yes, this was definitely a read that drew me in, too, and I agree that the girls' foolish choices were plausible. Just the kinds of things kids do that frustrate us and worry us. But it all added up to an engaging story. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I like the plot of this book and will keep an eye out for it.

  5. I've been on the fence about this one so it's good to know you liked it.


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