Cover image for Downriver
Hobbs, Will.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1996.

Physical Description:
204 pages ; 18 cm.
Fifteen-year-old Jessie and the other rebellious teenage members of a wilderness survival school team abandon their adult leader, hijack his boats, and try to run the dangerous white water at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
General Note:
Originally published: New York : Antheneum, 1991.
Reading Level:
760 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.9 8.0 7006.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.5 13 Quiz: 03278 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



No adults, no permit, no river map. Just some "borrowed" gear from Discovery Unlimited, the outdoor education program Jessie and her new companions have just ditched. Jessie and the others are having the time of their lives floating beneath sheer red walls, exploring unknown caves and dangerous waterfalls, and plunging through the Grand Canyon's roaring rapids. No one, including Troy, who emerges as the group's magnetic and ultimately frightening leader, can forsee the challenges and conflicts. What will be the consequences of their reckless adventure?

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 9-12. Jessie, 15, is one of eight problem teens participating in a nine-week outdoor survival education program known fondly as "Hoods in the Woods." Jessie's problems are hanging around with the wrong crowd and lots of friction with her widowed father over his new girlfriend. The idea of the program is to help kids "find themselves" and "come of age" by putting them in life-threatening situations that they work as a group to resolve. The first part of the program, mountain climbing, almost ends in disaster when Jessie panics and has to be talked down. But the real challenges start when the group, led by charismatic Troy Larsen, decides to ditch the counselor and head for the Grand Canyon to do some unsupervised white-water rafting. Although the characters are stock (Adam is the clown, Star plans her life with Tarot cards, Freddy is silent but resourceful) and the adults aren't very visible or trustworthy, there are some interesting group dynamics, and the kids learn to face consequences. The rafting sequences are exciting, although it's hard to believe the teens would be so successful without experience or maps. (Troy doesn't believe in planning.) There's not the depth the plot promises, and the ending is too tidy to be believable, but there's enough action to keep kids reading. --Candace Smith

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-- Eight problem kids (four boys, four girls, high school age) have been sent to a camp called Discovery Unlimited where they are to meet problems, make responsible decisions, and develop as adults. ``Hoods in the Woods'' the kids call themselves. Action occurs in the outback of southwestern Colorado and northern Arizona as Al, their adult leader, programs the group first to climb Storm King Peak (which nearly results in fatalities) and then to raft the white water of the San Juan River. The Hoods decide rafting the Colorado River will be wilder; so they steal Al's van and equipment, drive to the put-in at Lee's Ferry, sneak past the park rangers, inflate their rafts, and seven embark--one deserts. Rafting the wild Colorado is heady but difficult and dangerous. Misadventures develop the kids, but also breed disasters. So when the rangers capture the group near Havasu Creek, not all resent the rescue. The book is exquisitely plotted, with nail-biting suspense and excitement. Jean Craighead George's River Rats (Dutton, 1979; o.p.) is similar but lacks such intricate development of characters and interpersonal relationships. --George Gleason, Department of English, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.