Twelve-year-old Kenny, his older brother Jim, and the Shuester brothers have a club called the River Rats. Hardly a day goes by that they aren’t out on the river, one way or another. Then Henry moves into the area and wants to be a River Rat, too. Jim sets out to show him who’s in charge, and Kenny is caught between loyalty to his brother and a growing desire for friendship with Henry. Kenny realizes he must make a stand for what he knows to be right. Yet even if he is able to side against his brother—something at which he’s never been successful—is he willing to live with what this decision will cost him?
Middle-grade historical fiction Royal Fireworks Press
River Rats is set in the Chariton River Bottoms of Missouri and based on the life of an original “river rat.” Interviews with him and others of his era include tales of coon hunts, catfish noodling, and a lifestyle steeped in hard work and close family ties.