This fall, we’re bringing to you our recs for the latest debuts If you’re looking to take a foray into literary fiction this pick is tender, suspenseful, and crisply imagined. You’ll have no trouble getting into it, but here’s our advice: Read this book with the lights on and if you’re reading on the subway be careful because this is “miss-your-stop” good.
“The stars are so much brighter when you’re dead. The dark, so much darker. The trees are whispering, but I do not feel any wind. I want to feel the wind.”
5 reasons to read:
1. This book is so many things–a ghost story, family story, murder mystery–but mostly it is just plain masterful the way a river is strong and steady.
2. Told from sisters Sam and Ollie’s points of view, your heart will literally be racing by the end and tears may or may not be streaming down your face (guilty as charged).
3. The small town of Terrebonne, Oregon is the perfect backdrop for this story, with the distinctive river where Sam and Ollie find a dead body, the quiet meadow where their father lives in a teepee and keeps bees, and the town itself that seems to hold secrets for Sam and Ollie to uncover.
4. Geary’s debut novel is rhythmic, gripping, and raw. Just try to put it down.
5. This literary ghost story reminds us of The Lovely Bones or Beloved where the supernatural elements of the book are crucial to the story and propel the plot.
The Long View:
Before the death of their mother, Sam and Ollie had only spent summers and holidays with their father, Bear, after he had seemingly fled the responsibilities of family life. The girls join his unconventional lifestyle, keeping bees in a meadow owned by the Johnsons, Franny and Zeb, and living in a teepee, while grappling with the grief of their mother’s passing. When Sam and Ollie discover the body of a dead woman in the river, find a bloody jean jacket in their father’s belongings, and realize he hadn’t come home the night before, Sam is suspicious but wants to protect her father. The town of Terrebonne is wary of mountain man Bear for reasons Sam and Ollie do not know, and when the evidence points to Bear as the murderer he is arrested and put in jail. At fifteen, Sam does her best to protect her sister while digging into the past to exonerate her father. Ollie, who hasn’t spoken a word since her mother’s death, takes risks herself to unravel the truth with the help of the Shimmering, ghosts only she can see. Things come to a head when Ollie discovers evidence that will save her father, but the real killer has other plans and Ollie’s voice has yet to be heard.
Order Crooked River: A Novel