March’s Read: River Rocks

Now that the weather is trying to break, the itch for an adventure has been settling in.  While the weather (and work schedule) hasn’t been ideal for an adventure, I decided to live vicariously in a book.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to meet author Steve Kittner at a seminar. Each teacher was issued a free copy of his book, River Rocks. Taking place in the hills of West Virginia, two boys named Josh and Eddie go on a summer adventure when they come across a red milk can containing a cryptic message. The boys decided to research and discover clues that lead to Confederate gold from the Civil War. 

River Rocks by Steve Kittner

I really enjoyed this book because of the familiarity of the setting in the book. I have had the opportunity to explore the area and kayak the Elk River long before I picked up the book. I could picture myself being with the characters as they worked together to solve the mystery. It was actually the neatest experience for me.

They also like how the story gives you the old timey, small town feel. Although the story takes place in the early 2000s, the small town setting makes you think that the characters lived in the late 20th century. In the story, Josh and Eddie are all about being outside whether it’s riding bikes, camping or fishing. Everyone knows each other in the town and there’s always mannerisms involved. I honestly wish we could go back to the days where social media wasn’t involved and people were kind to one another. Life was much simpler without technology.

In the story, unlikely friendships were developed. Josh and Eddie become friends with high school graduate, Giselle, and the school bully, Brad. This is another part of the book I like because at a young age, we get this idea that we cannot be friends with someone who isn’t in our age group nor have similar family background. A lot of times, we tend to look at the surface instead of seeing what each and every one of us is capable of doing. For example, Brad came from a rough home life, but he could build a raft out of plywood and milk jugs. To me, that is a special talent. Brad’s project gave him an opportunity to break the chain and have a better life when he got older. In real life, you can break the generational chain by being you and sharing your talents with the world.

Kittner did an excellent job piecing some of the characters to the mystery of the missing Confederate gold. The adults involved in the hunt had an ancestor who had witnessed or overheard the story of the train robbery at the time. Their stories are carried from generation to generation which became a link to the missing puzzle. As I read this story, I would try my best to picture the story from everyone’s point of view until all the sides were told. As the entire story unfolds, so does the amount of time Josh and Eddie had to find this gold before their enemies did.  

If you are seeking an adventure, I would highly recommend this book. Once I started the story, I couldn’t put it down. The one thing I do regret is that I didn’t read this book sooner. If you are a teacher (especially in West Virginia), this book would be a great resource to incorporate into your learning standards. This is a very enjoyable read for everyone of all ages.

If you have read this book or any other Steve Kittner’s books, let me know what you think. I would love to hear your feedback.

Stay adventurous,


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