The River is Michael Neale's debut novel, and it didn't disappoint. I was skeptical at first about reading this book because I have literally no interest in whitewater rafting, camping, or farming, which are the main themes this book seemed to center on in the description. However, the moment I opened the package when I received this book, I knew this was going to be a special one I would enjoy. The book itself is a work of art. The cover is beautifully textured and made to look like an old fashioned journal. The pages have rough, uneven edges which add to the effect. As I opened the book and read the prologue and first chapter, it was confirmed - I was instantly hooked. This book details Gabriel Clarke's childhood and young adulthood and his growth from a traumatized boy to a freed man. I enjoyed the allegorical storyline of "The River" and the oft-repeated line "you were made for The River". Once I started this book, I could not put it down. I read it in 24 hours. The story touched me and is one that really makes you think about it long after you read the last page. I really hope Michael Neale will continue writing books, and maybe even a sequel to The River. I highly recommend reading this book! Excellent! I received a copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.