Book Review: Riverkeep

The Fobisher men have been tending the river for generations, keeping it clear of ice and weeds and hauling corpses from its depths. As soon as Wulliam turns 16, he will become the new Riverkeep. But, just a few days before his birthday, Wull’s father is pulled underwater, and when he surfaces, he’s no longer himself. Wull sets out in search of the mysterious sea-dwelling creature that may hold the key to saving his father.

Martin Stewart’s debut novel, inspired by the real-life Glasgow rivermen, is equal parts adventure, magic and a sweet tribute to growing up. New companions Mix and Tillinghast—who immediately throw Wull off course by claiming seats on his boat—add a necessary touch of comedy and camaraderie.

Stewart’s sharp prose fluctuates between laugh-out-loud funny and seriously poignant as Wull reconciles his sense of duty with his deep-seated yearning to help others. Though the narrative drags occasionally through convoluted subplots, Riverkeep is a perfect read for teens looking for a bit of adventure to end their summers.

This review was originally written for and published at BookPage.