The River

by Gary Paulsen

Paperback, 1993



Call number

PB Pau

Call number

PB Pau

Local notes

PB Pau




Yearling (1993), 132 pages


Because of his success surviving alone in the wilderness for fifty-four days, fifteen-year-old Brian, profoundly changed by his time in the wild, is asked to undergo a similar experience to help scientists learn more about the psychology of survival.


Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (Nominee — 1994)
Flicker Tale Award (Nominee — Picture Books — 1995)
Children's Favorites Awards (Selection — 1992-1994)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

132 p.; 5.24 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member dpappas
I read Hatchet way back in elementary school and loved it. My mom had read it back then and loved it too (she read a few books of the series). So when she decided to re-read Hatchet and read the rest of the series I went along with it. My mother and I lovingly call Brian "Hatchet."

So Brian has gone
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back to the wilderness to help the government train astronauts and others how to survive in a situation like Brian's. I enjoyed this one probably as much as I originally enjoyed Hatchet. I did feel that this one was a bit short (it is a kids book though) and kind of wrapped up abruptly. I would recommend this to people who enjoyed Hatchet.
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LibraryThing member patience_grayfeather
Brian goes back to the woods and I wanted to see what would happen next. Not as satisfying, nor as long as Hatchet, but a great read nonetheless.
LibraryThing member missmath144
I miss the details about making items for survival, such as were in the other three Brian books. This was more of an adventure that assumed we had absorbed the details of bow-making, etc. from the other books. But I still enjoyed it!
LibraryThing member mlsweatman
In Gary Paulsen's The River, Brian gets asked by the government to agree to teach the army survival skills in bad conditions. So, of course Brian talks his mother into letting him go to Canada to make a survival video with a man named Derek. Brian and Derek head to Canada and immediately when they
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arrive a lightning storm lands and strikes Derek. At this time Brian tries to build a raft and make it all the way down the rough river to get Derek to some doctors.
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LibraryThing member susiesharp
This book takes place after the events in Hatchet. Brian is home and recovering the best he can, when a man who runs a survival school asks Brian to re-live his time in the woods literally. He wants him to go back and recreate what happened to him so he can study it and help people survive in the
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same situation.

I really liked this one maybe not as much as Hatchet but it was really good. Brian is such a grown-up after what he has been through and proves that no matter what he is a survivor. But all I kept thinking was why Brian you really need to stay out of the woods! I am now on a huge Gary Paulsen kick I see why his books are so popular I think I will have to read them all! Can't wait to read Brian's Winter.
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LibraryThing member briannad84
Good book, but it seemed very fast-paced. But I liked it. Especially the very end where Brian receives the canoe from Derek!
LibraryThing member Lizzybeth23
A nice continuation of the Hatchet series. Very entertaining, keeps you wanting more.
LibraryThing member ctmsmaoc
Matt O'Connor
February 9,2012
The Bat Cave
Mr. Bronson

The River

The River is an excellent book. It is very unique compared to other books. It is about a boy named Brian Robeson who gets lost in the wilderness. Now he not only has to care for himself but he must guide another man, Derek to safety. If
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Brian does not guide Derek to safety Derek will die.

There is a lot of action in this book. One reason I liked this book is that all of the action is natural. Sometimes a tree will fall or lightning will strike. Another realistic feature is that Brian must either hunt or fish for his food.

Brian is faced with many problems in this book. One example is that he must somehow manage to find food for himself and Derek. Too overcome these problems Brian will plan out helpfull solutions. For example Brian creates a fish trap for food.

This book is part of the Hatchet series.I have now read four of the books. Iam not sure how many there are in the series but I am looking foward to reading the next book, Brian's Return.

The author of this book, Gar Paulsen, knows how to grab youru attention. He writes about true, real life events but adds fiction to them to create a story. I really liked this book and I highly recommend it to anyone in search of a new one.
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LibraryThing member edspicer
The book is very short, but there is plenty of action and drama. I would only recommend this book to a reader who has read "Hatchet", because many details derive from "Hatchet." I believe this is why it is an okay short book, but you may not understand some of the story with out reading it
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("Hatchet") first. I read "Hatchet", the prequel, which has alternate endings in different books. The river is one alternate ending , and I greatly enjoyed "Hatchet" and expected the same greatness,(and) I saw in it "In The River." Q4P3 AHS/Tyler W.
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LibraryThing member Andre.cbec6671
This book is about a boy named Brian. He was once in a plane crash and survived for fifty-two days with nothing but a hatchet. He was then rescued and brought back home. One day, he was cooking dinner when some men came into his home. They asked if his mother was home but he said no. The men said
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they'd be back when she was here, and they did. One of the three men introduced himself as Derek Holtzer. He said to Brian, "We want you to do it again."

This book is the second one in a series, and it was just like the first one. It was full of action and suspense. When Brian and Derek arraved in the woods, Brian told Derek to setup camp while he went looking for food. It started to rain, so Brian abandoned the hunt to check on Derek. He was tryong to work his radio, so he could tell his colleagues the progress they were making. Then, some lightning hit Derek not once, but twice. Brian was knocked out, so he didn't wake up until morning. He found that Derek was in a coma, the radio was fried, and the nearest civilization was a few hundred miles south. Brian constructed a raft of wood, and took Derek down "Necktie River." They trip was successful, Derek was okay, but Brian lost twelve pounds. He was eventually nursed back to health.
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LibraryThing member benuathanasia
I enjoyed this addition to the Brian Robeson (Hatchet) series. Paulsen's emphasis on luck being the key to Brian's survival seems both an intelligent move from the perspective of liability, yet is frequently shown to be not true. Brian survives sheerly by his ingenuity and unnatural understanding
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of engineering and the natural world.
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LibraryThing member ShannaRedwind
This book was alright. I didn't enjoy it as much as Hatchet. What I liked in Hatchet was the focus on the day to day survival, and there was much less of it in this book.

Still, this was a very enjoyable book and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys books about wilderness survival or books about the
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LibraryThing member hsreader
Brain Robeson is being sent out again. But this time he's not alone. He is with Derek Holtzer, a government psychologist. They got all this equipment and they leave it on the plane but take a radio and Derek's briefcase. Like the 2nd week brain got woken up by lighting and thunder. Derek wakes up
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to and moves towards the radio and gets zapped by lighting. H was in a coma. So the radios broke and Brain has to find a wa to get Derek some help. So he builds a raft. Now they're floating down he river to Brannock trading post. They get hit with a waterfall and he loses derek 3 miles away still on the raft. brain catches up and floats another 13 miles and makes it. The people their radio and go home.
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LibraryThing member AlexaP.B3
In the book “The River” (the 2nd book in the Hatchet series) Brain is asked to and do it again. But this time he would be by a lake with Derek. Derek is a teacher who teaches people how to survive in the wilderness. They get dropped off by a lake with everything but a kitchen sink. But Brain
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sends the plane away and they are stuck with just two pocket knives to survive with. The first night there is a huge thunder storm and Derek is put in a coma by a lightning strike. Brian decides to head down stream to find help for Derek. He finds out that he has to travel just under 100 miles to get to the nearest civilization. He builds a raft for Derek and him. After two days on the raft Brian is tired, sick, and hungry. He blacks out and wakes up to some people pulling him out of the water. He later finds out that Derek was in a low risk coma and that he was ok.

I would rate this book a five because it kept me interested throughout the whole book. I thought that it was very suspenseful and I would definitely recommend it. I liked how the book had unsuspecting turns. The one thing that I would change is the point of view. The book is in third person, but I thought that it would be better if it was in Brian’s point of view. I think it would be better in Brian’s point of view because it would be more interesting. It would have been nice to know what he was thinking and feeling through his adventure.
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LibraryThing member Tigerlily12
Another fun survival story from Gary Paulsen. Not as good as Hatchet, but I still really enjoyed it. Plenty of action. I wanted more length, but it is a children's book.
LibraryThing member fuzzi
Brian is back in the wilderness, convinced by a psychologist and by his own conscience, that he needs to partly recreate his survival experiences. There's an adult with him, and they are prepared, what could go wrong?

Good sequel to the first book, "The Hatchet".
LibraryThing member BookConcierge
This is book two in the popular Hatchet series.

It’s been nearly two years since Brian Robeson endured nearly two months on his own in the Canadian wilderness. The last thing he expects when he opens the door is some government types who bluntly propose, “We want you to do it again.” Of
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course this time, the men explain to his mother, Brian will have Derek, a government psychologist along, and they’ll be outfitted with survival gear, including a radio for emergencies. Of course, things don’t go exactly as planned and Brian must rely on his own intelligence, cool reasoning and reservoirs of strength and courage to get them safely back.

Frankly, I thought it was just too contrived. Brian’s reactions ring true – fear, anxiety, disdain, worry, joy, and excitement are all present at various times. But since he’s not alone, there is far less time for him to think about his situation or what he misses, and that makes him more distant from the reader for much of the book. It seemed much more action-driven than the first book, and I just didn’t enjoy that as much.
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LibraryThing member LibraryCin
In the first book, 13-year old Brian survived in the woods by himself for almost 2 months. A couple of years later, he is asked to go back to the woods, along with a psychologist, to show how he survived the first time so those skills can be taught to others. Unfortunately, things go wrong when
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they get out there, and Brian needs to save not only himself, but the psychologist, as well.

I really enjoyed this. Ok, not a realistic scenario, but the book was still entertaining. I listened to the audio, which was well done. I just wish it had been a little longer – it was over so fast! Despite being short, it is fast-paced (which maybe made it feel shorter, still!).
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LibraryThing member kartkid
very good book
LibraryThing member CandyH
A tremendous read!
LibraryThing member nx74defiant
An excellent sequel. The military wants his help to improve survival training. So Brian finds this outing easier until Derek Holtzer, a government psychologist is hurt and now Brian has to take care of another person. Quick listen
LibraryThing member RobertaLea
Not as good as Hatchet, but it's definitely Paulsen!
LibraryThing member tanyaferrell
I had low expectations for this sequel to Hatchet. Hatchet was clearly meant to be a standalone book so I assumed, in an effort to turn the book into a sequel, the author would struggle with coming up with a plot that wasn't completely contrived. is a little contrived. It starts with an
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unbelievable premise, the U.S. government seeking out a fifteen year old boy to teach survival skills.

A wacky premise can be forgiven when the plot is fun and adventurous, the message is clear, and the length is super short though. The audio book is only 2.5 hours and at 2x speed, it's basically like listening to the audio of a great episode of television. It's even shorter than Hatchet and the stakes are high. Similar to Hatchet, this felt like an allegory for life. While Hatchet focused a lot on thinking through problems, The River seemed to focus on the value of consistent work. If you work every day and try every day, luck will eventually find you. It also deals with the responsibility of caring for others. In a sense, Brian swaps roles with an adult and becomes a primary caregiver. Being a caregiver isn't fun, it can slow you down in the wild and in life, and it leads Brian to have some very dark thoughts that he must overcome.

Again, the message in this book is so good and wholesome for kids. And the adventure aspect of the story is entertaining for all ages. A highly recommend for all readers.
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½ (350 ratings; 3.6)
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