Maia is just an ordinary London school girl…until she is orphaned and her only living relatives are discovered to be living in the deepest, darkest Amazon. Yet Maia faces her new life with optimism, willing her newfound cousins to become her best friends, and her new exotic surroundings to yield wonderful adventures.

But despite her positive approach, Maia is drastically disappointed when she meets her new family. Her aunt is a germophobe who prefers to eat canned beets rather than risk a fly on the local fresh fruits; her uncle is a scam artist whose greatest passion is his glass eye collection; and as for the much anticipated cousins… they are spoiled, selfish, disdainful and downright horrid towards Maia whom they see as no better than the native pests they are so eager to avoid.

But all is not lost. Thanks to a kind and loyal heart, Maia manages to find friendship in unexpected places….and with it, an adventure beyond any she could have dreamed up.

Journey to the River Sea is a quest not only for adventure, but for home. And we find, along with Maia, that sometimes the adventures we don’t look for but find ourselves in for the sake of friendship, are the very best kind.

Eva Ibbotson has a special knack for creating  adventure stories with a lot of heart, as meaningful as they are exiting. I found myself rooting for Maia – a lead role who is strong in herself but also deeply caring of others – as she tries to keep her chin up & stay resourceful when facing disappointments. The other characters, both the good and the nasty, are interesting and 3-dimensional, and the plot keeps readers guessing to the very end. I highly recommend picking up this book & taking the journey… to the river sea.

Genre: middle grade adventure

Recommended tea: vanilla Rooibus