The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

I was really torn with how to rate this book. The first half was great, and I was thinking this could be a 4-star book, but the second half was pretty awful. I settled on 3 stars since I did like that first half.

This is a story of four women who embark on a whitewater rafting adventure together. These women, who are all very different, have been friends for 15+ years and come together for an annual trip each year. Though Pia is adventurous and outdoorsy, the other women aren’t necessarily. Past vacations were more akin to lounging in a chair on the beach, mai-tai in hand.

One thing that I really enjoyed in this book was the balance between adventure and suspense. While one of my favorite genres is suspense, I don’t read too many adventure novels, but I really enjoyed this one. Although the author detailed the whitewater rafting and camping, the reader was never lost in uninteresting detail (and honestly, when it comes to camping, I’ll get real bored real fast).

This was a really strong story until about half-way through. I really wish the author had kept the storyline a little more realistic. The thing is, whitewater rafting can be extremely dangerous and it would be absolutely terrifying if you became stranded at some point. There are plenty of terrifying animals and elements to deal with in the wilderness. I really wish the author would have kept the focus on that. Instead, the story takes an even more dramatic turn and becomes insanely unrealistic. The second half of the book reminded me more of a horror movie – dramatic, exaggerated, unnecessary terror, unrealistic, etc.

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