It has been almost a year since Rill's father was taken by the Colorado River on a white-water rafting trip. Rill believes that her father will come back and is determined to stay the same until then. Upon visiting Camp Kruse, the treehouse that her dad built, Rill finds a girl from her class hiding out. Perla escaped when her family was being deported. Rill helps Perla with food, clothes and finding out if her family made it back home. Rill finds purpose, friendship and an adventure as she helps Perla. However, Rill soon realizes that even though Perla's family is far away, her father is still alive, and Rill's emotions burst through to the surface.
The River Between Hearts is an emotional middle-grade journey. Rill is written as a completely believable pre-teen going through grief. Her relationship with Perla was exactly what she needed at the moment. Perla's story explored the world of immigration, deportation and the heartbreak it can bring as families are separated. As Rill and Perla leaned on one another, they were able to find strength in one another and face the truth of their situations to come to acceptance and move on to the next steps. Fast-paced writing and wonderful perspectives highlight the challenges of growing up, grief, immigration, family dynamics and big feelings in a down-to-earth manner.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.