River Stone by Rachel Henessy
In Rachel Hennessy’s vision of the future in River Stone, civilisation has been devastated and humanity has retreated into nature to survive, living off the land and leaving modern technology behind. However, when a plague threatens the existence of Pandora’s entire village, she is driven back to the world her people had tried to forget. In doing so, she discovers her family’s history and her own place in the world.
River Stone is a gripping Young Adult dystopia with a unique flavour, filling the genre’s bones with its vibrant characters, relentless storytelling and a phenomenal world. This is the future, but it feels more like the prehistoric past, and as the characters journey towards the city of Melney, they are shadowed by a violent history, one that the author uses to comment on present-day issues of environmentalism and war.
On her journey, Pandora is accompanied by a cast of memorable teens, including the headstrong Matt and a mysterious hunter of the mountain people, both of whom vie for her affections in a classic love triangle. The characters’ relationships are complex and engaging, keeping the narrative interesting, and the story ties itself up satisfyingly. But having introduced such an exciting world, any sequels will be much awaited.
Suitable for readers 12+.
Joe Murray is a bookseller at Readings Kids.