Montana-born Rex loves nothing more than to take his kayak out on a river, the faster and more powerful the better. When he gets the opportunity to tackle the well-named El Furioso in southwest Colombia, he is thrilled. He anticipates the river’s challenges, but finds himself in a situation where the real danger is human.
In Colombia, he meets Myriam Calambás, an indígena, who has lived along the El Furioso all her life. Though she loves its rushing waters, she dreams of leaving to get an education so that she can help her people. Her dreams, and her very survival, are in the balance when she and Rex are caught up in the clash between paramilitaries, working for rich landowners, and guerillas, who are supposed to be protecting the poor.
Pam Withers’ skill at writing about extreme adventures combines with a compelling story about an endangered world and a people struggling for their very right to exist.
About Pam Withers
Pam Withers is the critically acclaimed author of fifteen best-selling adventure novels for teens, including the award-winning First Descent. Born in Wisconsin and fascinated by the world of extreme sports, she is a former whitewater raft guide, kayak instructor, journalist, editor, and associate publisher. Pam Withers is also co-founder of www.keenreaders.org and co-author of Jump-Starting Boys: Help Your Reluctant Learner Find Success in School and Life. Visit her website at www.pamwithers.com.
“…Pam Withers' new book First Descent is a book that just can't be put down. From the first page to the last, Withers keeps her readers on the edge of their seats. Moving from a tale of frustration and arrogance to one of survival, heroism, and humility, the story of Rex's adventure to Colombia to navigate the aptly named El Furioso river will keep audiences flipping pages until the last sentence. Withers is a talented author with a knack for exciting and gripping action as well as for sympathetic and moving characters. The plot is well-paced, and her prose elicits beautiful images of the Colombian landscape…. Highly recommended.”
"...From the first page, when Rex hears a crack of river ice, sees an eight-year-old in peril, and enacts a dramatic rescue in which he must out-paddle an advancing mountain of ice, Withers flings the reader from one perilous adventure to another...."
— Booklist "
Kayaking action and encounters with the various military groups are vivid and thrilling."
— Kirkus Reviews
"...a fast-paced novel.... Mature teens will find this a compelling story of clashing cultures and social challenge."
—The Midwest Book Review