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Reviewed by Munir Muhammad for Readers' Favorite
River's Reach is a captivating novel by David Scott Richardson that depicts the coming-of-age journey of a high school student named Alex Haugen amidst the fish conflicts in the Pacific Northwest. He faces a difficult decision between his passion for fishing and his responsibility to his father, who works as a game warden. Alex's father is enforcing rules about fishing that the nearby tribes don't like. As Alex keeps learning about the fish wars' history, he starts to doubt his own thoughts about protecting nature and the rights of indigenous groups. He also becomes close friends with Charlie McCallister, a young Nisqually Indian who was arrested by Alex's dad for fishing illegally. Alex learns to see things in a new way because of his friend Charlie. He understands how important it is to preserve tribal culture and that it is necessary to achieve fairness for the environment. As Alex delves deeper into the issue, he realizes how little he truly knows about the complexities of the fishing controversy. Through his journey of self-discovery and quest for understanding, Alex finds the courage to stand apart.
The novel touches on themes of heritage, cultural conflict, social justice, and personal growth. It is a thought-provoking and engaging tale suitable for middle-grade, young adult readers, and those young at heart. The narrative, the characters, and the overall novel add a layer of authenticity to the characters' experiences. River's Reach is beautifully crafted to combine history and personal growth, keeping readers hooked with its intriguing plot and relatable characters. David Scott Richardson encourages readers to question preconceived notions, stand up for their beliefs, and embrace understanding and compassion amid complex and contentious situations. River's Reach is a good book that makes you think about who you are, different cultures, and taking care of the environment.