Friday, March 2, 2018

"My Name is River" by Wendy Dunham

About this book:

  “It's 1983, and twelve-year-old River Starling's life is anything but normal. She was adopted on a whim and came without a birth certificate. Her adoptive parents gave her up to her grandmother when she was only two, but River is certain her parents will come back.
  River's hopes fall apart when Gram uproots them from their farmhouse and decides to move to Birdsong, West Virginia, the most miserable town River has ever seen. There she makes an unlikely friendship with an unusual boy and learns about acceptance, hard work, forgiveness, and the love of Jesus.
  Discover the unforgettable story of one girl's search for a place to call home.”

Series: Book #1 in the “River” series.

Spiritual Content- Scriptures are quoted, mentioned, read, talked about, & referenced; Prayers; Church going, Hymns, & Sermons; Being witnessed to; River’s Gram mentions “the wind” many times (could be taken as the Holy Spirit); Talks about God, praying, & Heaven; ‘H’s are not capital when referring to God; Mentions of God & Jesus; Mentions of prayers, praying, & blessings over food; Mentions of churches, church going, services, sermons, hymns, & a pastor; Mentions of faiths & Heaven; Mentions of Bibles, Bible reading, & those in the Bible; A couple mentions of a church’s stained glass windows; A couple mentions of miracles; A couple mentions of an angel; A couple mentions of sin & sinners; A mention of a ‘Thank God’;
             *Note: A “God Almighty” is said and River gets embarrassed (thinking it’s a sin to say it like that).

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘darn’, two ‘blasted’s, four ‘stupid’s, and five forms of ‘dumb’; A mention that pastors aren’t allow to swear; *Big Spoiler* River’s new best friend dies from an accident near the very end of the book. His body is found (barely-above-not-detailed), also brings mentions of dying & what would it be like. Another boy later confesses to have pushed him. (barely-above-not-detailed) *End of Big Spoiler*; Mentions of murdered birds (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of a mean boy breaking a window & threatening another; Mentions of a child being taken & a wife leaving her husband after that event happened; Mentions of lies & lying; Mentions of smoking, smoke, & cigarettes; A few mentions of a man in jail for murder; A few mentions of a break-in & thieves; A couple mentions of a cat that was hit by a car; A couple mentions of tattoos; A mention of a child drowning (he’s saved); A mention of urine; A mention of mouse waste; A mention of a run-over dog; A mention of dead fish;
             *Note: A few mentions of car brands; A couple mentions of a cigarette brand; A couple mentions of aliens.

Sexual Content- River wonders if her biological mother was a teenager who got pregnant;
             *Note: Mentions of a birth injury when a baby came out of his mother.

-River Starling, age 12
                                1st person P.O.V. of River
                                         Set in 1983
                                                        143 pages

Pre Teens-
New Teens-
Early High School Teens-
Older High School Teens-
My personal Rating-
{ Ratings truly depend on the reader, there is a death that may be triggering for young readers. }
I was expecting this to be a fun, light read of a pre-teen book.
But, oh, it was so much more.
From the opening page, I adored River. She reminded me a bit of April Grace from “Confessions of April Grace” series, and I personally think they would be dear friends—and probably get into some mischief together. River often wonders about both set of her parents, biological and her adoptive parents, which she believes neither loved her. While a few parts could probably be triggering for adoptees, there is a wonderful message of having God be your Father throughout this small book. (It would still probably be best for a parent or trusted adult to read the book before the young adoptee, so content can be cleared as okay and later discussions can happen.)
If y’all have been following this site or any of our social media accounts for any amount of time, you most likely know that I very rarely cry while reading. Due to an expected twist in this story, I actually ended up crying and sniffing. But, I can’t say much due to spoilers! While I liked the very ending (that part I did see coming!), it did leave off in a cliffhanger, so I’m eager to read the next book.

See y’all on Monday with a new review!

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.


  1. Lindsey, thank you for the wonderful review. I giggled as I read your comment about River and April Grace being friends. . . I agree if they were ever to meet that they'd be dear friends. And the mischief they'd get into? No doubt!

    1. Aww, hahaha! So glad you enjoyed the review! :)
      Have a wonderfully Blessed week!
      ~Lindsey Z.
      Owner of BFCG