Though their lives are very different, River and Meena quickly find out they have lots in common. River lives in rural Kentucky, surrounded by the Appalacian Mountains. Meena's life in New York City is completely different, but she remembers growing up near a mountain in India so she felt a strong connection with River's life. Both kids live mostly without their fathers who need to live away from their families in order to find work. Both are very close to their grandmothers, though Meena had to leave hers behind in India. And both quickly come to depend on their friendship to help them through tough times.
This book is interesting to read because you get the story through the letters they write to each other. It sort of feels like you are eavesdropping, but also like you are part of this close friendship group. It is also interesting to see how these characters deal with some very real problems that we have all heard about or even experienced. River's hometown is suffering the side effects of mountain-top removal. Meena's family is just earning their citizenship papers but are struggling to stay in their rent controlled apartment.
I like this book. It is sad at times, and actually made me angry about coal mining and the injustice of some landlords. But it's worth the sadness and anger to witness the formation of this great friendship.
Our class library has a copy of this book.