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This novel is a moving account of an orphan’s life, a book you just couldn’t put down. It is quite sad at times but the story is action-packed, exciting and enjoyable.
We are introduced to an orphan girl called Maia. Her wealthy parents were killed in a train crash in Egypt and she is sent to the Mayfair Academy for young ladies. The staff there are kind to her but she is terribly lonely. Eventually her guardian locates a distant cousin of hers, named Carter in Brazil who agrees to take Maia into his family, knowing that because of her wealthy background, he would gain financially.He sends a governess to bring her to Brazil. During the boat journey Maia meets Clovis, a young actor who had been treated very badly by his adoptive parents. He and Maia hit it off immediately.
In Brazil we meet another character called Finn who is also an orphan, trying to escape from his uncle who wanted him to return to England to inherit great family wealth. Indians are helping him hide. Maia first met Finn when the Indians brought her to his hut. A while later Maia brought Clovis to the hut. When they got to know each other they all became good friends.
Mr. and Mrs. Carter have twin daughters who are bullies and are mean to Maia. Miss Minton is the Carter’s governess and is very nice to Maia. I like the part where Mr. Carter shows Maia the glass covered eyeballs that he collects but Mrs. Carter thinks that she should sell them so they could get a lot of money, and would not have to keep Maia in their family home.
Maia is my favourite character in the book. She stood out from the rest of her class in England because of her unusual, exotic looks. She likes an adventure and is kind and helpful. I liked her because I could relate to her. The Indians also love Maia and they try to protect her. I did not like Beatrice and Gwendolyn, the Carter twins because they were mean and nasty to everyone.
Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson won the Smarties Book Prize Gold award. It is shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. It was runner up in the Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year Competition and for the Guardian Fiction award. It has 296 pages and is suitable for children aged 12 and upwards. I really enjoyed this book because it was full of adventure. I would give it marks of 9 out of 10.
Reviewed by: Wendy Cantwell, Sixth Class, Doonaha National School.