The River Road by Karen Osborn is a sad and depressing novel, illustrating that Osborn is an emotional and talented author.
David is Michael's older brother, and the two are like best friends -- that is, until Kay and her single mother move in next door. As the children grow up together, they become like the Three Musketeers, spending all their time together. By the time they are teenagers, it is obvious that Kay is in love with David, and not Michael.
The novel opens on a late night. David and Kay have just taken LSD and are driving around town. Michael, like always, is along for the ride. When they come to a bridge, one hundred and forty feet above the river, David wants to get out and walk across. He and Michael fight. Michael goes back to the car.
Alone on the bridge, David asks Kay if she wants to jump into the river with him. It is spring, and the melted snow has made the river rise five feet higher than normal. It is running faster and harder than ever. The perspective and judgement of the teenagers is skewed by the drug, so Kay helps David to stand up onto the railing.
Did he jump, or was he pushed? Kay can't remember, and Michael isn't positive of what he saw from the car. All anyone knows for sure is that David plummeted into the icy water. It is days before a body is found and an investigation is launched.
Kevin, David and Michael's father, is distraught. David had everything going for him; the last thing Kevin wants is to see his son's memory smeared with gossip and rumors of drug abuse. He blames Kay for everything and he wants the police to know it.
Osborn tells the story of The River Road in five parts, from the perspectives of Kay, Michael and Kevin. Meaningfully compelling, Osborn explores jealousy from a variety of angles. She takes readers from love to rejection to hate, in a moving and tragic novel, one I could not put down.