Journey To The River Sea

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Book Review- Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson

A journey to the river sea is about Maia, who is orphaned at the unfortunate age of 13, so she is sent to her closest relatives, who happen to live a thousand miles within the Amazon rainforest. She imagines a loving family with whom she will share the great adventure. Instead, she ends up with two spiteful cousins who view the jungle as the enemy and refuse to go outdoors. But the wonders of the rainforest more than make up for the hideous Carters. And when Maia meets a mysterious boy who lives alone on the wild river shores, she begins a spectacular journey to the heart of the extraordinary new world. 


Maia’s parents died at the unfortunate age of thirteen, so she is forced to abandon her home in Mayfair Academy for Young Ladies. Along with her strict governess, who has her own reasons for accompanying her, she is sent to the Amazon. Her closest relatives, the Carters, stay a thousand miles up the Amazon river, or as the natives call in the river sea.

During the journey, she thinks about a big and loving family with whom she will share many adventuresInstead, to her utter dismay, she gets too rude and spiteful cousins who hate the Amazon as much as Maia loves it. However, the beauty of the rainforest doesn’t let her down as it continues to amaze her.   

During her stay, the family plans to see a play by Clovis King, a young child actor, although Maia wanted to come, the twins lie and tell her that there were no tickets left. She decides to ignore them and go to the play anyway, however, while reaching she gets lost in the thick and dense jungle. A native boy, however, finds her and delivers her to the theatre. 

 Later, Maia meets the boy, whose name is Finn Taverner, again and finds out that he is running away from a pair of detectives, MR trap wood and Mr Low, Maia calls them the crows. They are following him so that he can inherit the estate of the wealthy Taverner family, from his grandfather, and become the heir of Westwood. 

Now Maia must come up with a way to help both Clovis and Finn while having her own problems to solve while journeying to the river sea.  


I read Journey to the river sea at a very young age, yet I still enjoy re-reading it. I really admire the luscious descriptions of the Amazon, as it is such a breathtaking place with so much life. Maia has to go through such a big change in the environment both physically and mentally, yet she still manages to make friends easily and solve all their problems. The first part of the book is a Cinderella tale, the way she has two haughty stepsisters and tries to sneak off to the theatre! 

But with the modern twist, she doesn’t find her true love. The way Eva Ibbotson writes, just makes you get lost in that world and fully occupied with the characters and their problems. Reading the book itself is like a journey where you get to see and witness the way Maia handles her grief, channelling it into compassion and loves for her surrounding and those in itNo other words to describe this book but beautiful.

 A very well written story about grief, adventure and friendship. Once you think the problem has been resolved the author manages to surprise you once again! Truly compelling with its own type of magic. 

“…Adventures, once they were over, were things that had to stay inside one–that no one else could quite understand.” 

This book is packed with daring adventure, I cannot think of a better setting than deep inside the Amazon, where every day is an adventure on its own. The character of Maia is the perfect example for young woman everywhere. Nowadays womeare just forced to go with the flow and do what they are asked to do, it takes courage to rebel and makes your own decisions sometimes even when you are flooded with grief and have no other choice.

  Maia overcomes her sadness and looks for the positives in life which are the way somebody should go when they are uncertain. This book is great for all ages but I feel it is best suited for children between the ages of 9 to 14, as it is more in their interest range. I read this book in both primary and secondary school so it is suitable for both. This book is fiction, historical and adventure genre 

Eva Ibbotson was a British writer for children’s books that specialized in Romance and children’s fantasyShe graduated from university with a diploma in Education in 1965. Her books are mostly said to be imaginative and humorous and most of them contain a magic creature or a magical place, challenging the fact that she disliked the supernatural, and made up such characters to help the readers get over their fears.

 Some of the book, such as the Journey to the River Sea, reflect her love for nature. She also loves Austria, which shows in her books such as the Star of Kazan and A Song for Summer. These books are set mainly in the famous Austrian countryside and yet again reflect her love nature and the natural things in life. 

Overall, I give Journey to the River Sea a five out of five for transporting me into the adventurous Amazon from the comfort of my living room.

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