Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of falling into a book. There are books you read, and then there are books you inhabit. Reading The Riverman, I knew this book was the firmly in the latter category.
Closing The Riverman I was struck with how to describe it to another reader. A book about friendship? Yes. A book about growing up? Certainly – it is both of those and so much more. Finally, I decided that there is no description I can write that will do this book justice. The Riverman is a book you must read. It is that good and one that I believe we will be discussing for some time to come.
I am excited to welcome the author of this brilliant book, Aaron Starmer, to my blog today. If you’ve read The Riverman you will know that it stands alone, while, at the same time, leaving you with many questions. I loved reading Aaron’s response to the simple question, What happens next? Are you wondering too? If so, join me in welcoming Aaron to this space and read his fabulous response below. Enjoy!
No story is ever really finished. I am constantly reminded of this as an author of books for young readers. Every time I visit a school, I confront the same question about my novels (besides, of course, is there going to be a movie?):
What happens next?
I'm glad kids ask. Even if I don't have sequels in the works, it's nice to know that the worlds I created live on in readers' heads, that they don't just drop the books in the trash and proclaim, "well, I've had enough of that."
Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert!
The story of The Riverman isn't finished. In fact, The Riverman is the first volume in a trilogy. I haven't been vocal about this because I want early readers to approach the book with few expectations, which has frustrated some, because the ending introduces some new questions. I imagine that they raise their fists in indignation, shouting, "curse you, foul author, and your love of ambiguities!"
I apologize for being a bit cagey, but to be honest, I don't feel all that bad about it. The Riverman is indeed part of a larger story, but in the same way that an appetizer is part of a larger meal. You can enjoy it on its own. It can be a meal in and of itself. If you've had your fill, you can say, "check please." But if you're still hungry, you can wave the waiter over, rub your hands together, and request the entree.
The entree is called The Whisper. Is it a better book than The Riverman? Beats me. Is it a different type of book? Most definitely. This trilogy isn't a single entree sliced up into three equal pieces. Like I said, it's a meal. The various courses complement each other, but they're also meant to be singular experiences.
Since I've already told you that I like readers to approach my books with few expectations, I'm not about to tell you what happens in The Whisper. But I will give you the tiniest of teasers, the opening lines (be warned: they are subject to change slightly during the copy-editing process):
A whisper is a monster with many mouths. It invites, it infests, it assures: I am not for all ears, I am just for you. There are whispers in the water, as strange as that may seem. But it’s only strange to the ones who don’t hear them. The ones who do hear them have a choice. They can ignore or they can follow.
So if you get to the end of The Riverman, and you're frustrated, consider this. The ending is a whisper. If you hear it, you have a choice. You can ignore or you can follow. I hope you follow.
Aaron’s Website: http://aaronstarmer.com/
Aaron on Twitter: @AaronStarmer
Macmillan Kids on Twitter: @MacKidsBooks
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Tuesday, March 18: Alice Marvels
Wednesday, March 19: Book Jems
Thursday, March 20: Maria’s Melange
Friday, March 21: Books and Whimsy
Saturday, March 22: Great Imaginations
Monday, March 24: Word Spelunking
Tuesday, March 25: Live to Read
Wednesday, March 26: Read, Write, Reflect