"Some rivers should not be swum in. Some rivers hold secrets that can never be told."
Te Arepa is an adventurous Maori boy, bound to the history, customs and rituals of his people. When he comes upon a giant eel while fishing, he is convinced the creature is a taniwha, or water demon, and follows it. Yet what Te Arepa finds in the river is far different, far more sinister. And it will change his life forever.
Te Arepa has always been curious about experiencing life beyond his tribe. His wishes seem granted when he is awarded a scholarship at a prestigious boarding school far away from the Maori. Leaving behind his family and their traditions, Te Arepa sets out to discover a strange new world with customs of its own...as well as new enemies.
When he arrives at school, Te Arepa finds the freedom and everything it offers intoxicating. But to fit in, he realizes, he must shed his identity, his culture and even his name. And he comes to realize that what the water demon showed him in the darkness of the river that day changed him - and that freedom comes with a heavy price.
Ted Dawe has worked over the years as an insurance clerk, a store man, a builder's labourer and a fitter's mate, and he's flown hot air balloons over Hyde Park. He's also been a university student, a world traveler, a high school teacher, and an English language teacher. His first novel, Thunder Road, won both the Young Adult Fiction section and the Best First Book award at the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults and will be released by Polis Books.
Into The River won the Margaret Mahy award, which is "presented annually to a person who has made an especially significant contribution to children’s literature, publishing or literacy, and honours New Zealand’s leading author for children."
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Julian JCF Jewellery on 14-06-16
Great start but bit of ramble end.
The book sets a good beginning of Maori childhood and how mixed up generations have an effect on future life . Then the book changes to yet another public school style ramble of young men experiencing life's temptations and cruelty in one way or another with a bit of sex and Fast and Furious thrown in. I loved the wise grandfather stories and hoped he would reappear towards the end but alas this didn't happen. Liberation ? Not really. None the less a good listen with some funny bits thanks mainly to the narrators brilliant characterisations.
By emma on 09-06-16
Kiwi boy comes of age
Into the River probably wouldn't have got much attention if it hadn't caused outrage among a group of conservatives in New Zealand. As it is, it's a fairly standard teen coming-of-age story about a rural boy winning a scholarship to a posh boarding school in the big city and the culture shock that ensues. There are friendships, bullying and some (gasp!) drink, drugs and sex, but nothing extreme - if anything, it's probably quite realistic.
Reasonably entertaining and well narrated.