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list price: $2.95
also available: Paperback
category: Children's Fiction
published: Apr 2012
publisher: Coteau Books

Outcasts of River Falls

by Jacqueline Guest

tagged: post-confederation (1867-), native canadian, girls & women

A shock is in store for well-bred young Toronto lady Kathryn when she travels to Alberta to live with her aunt.

After the death of her father, Kathryn must go to live with her Aunt Belle in Alberta in 1901. Arriving at Buffalo Hills, Kathryn is horrified to learn her new home is a group of shacks called River Falls, a Métis community. Never having known her true heritage, Kathryn is further shocked to discover it’s not even a permanent home. Barred from owning land, the Métis must find a way to live in the road allowances, or ditches – the strips of government land between the public highway and the private properties of recognized citizens. Excitement comes in the form of a mysterious stranger known as the Highwayman, a shadowy Robin Hood figure who rights wrongs against the Métis people in his own way. When he is framed for a crime he did not commit, and Aunt Belle becomes involved, Kathryn must use all her resources to prove their innocence – and challenge the deep-seated beliefs of an entire community.

About the Author

Jacqueline Guest is the award-winning Métis writer of over a dozen books for young readers. She is the recipient of the Indspire Award for the Arts, formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, and was named to the Order of Canada for her ongoing efforts in the world of literacy. Jacqueline lives in the Rocky Mountain foothills of Alberta.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
9 to 12
4 to 8
  • , High Plains Awards, Young Adult Book
  • Winner, Moonbeam Children's Book Awards, Pre-Teen Fiction Historical/Cultural
Editorial Reviews

"A YA mystery about a mixed-heritage Canadian girl coming to terms with her identity beautifully rendered… Set in the year 1901, this page-turner explores mixed identity and discovering one's full potential."

— Billings Gazette Review of Racing Home

"Like other books written by Guest, this book is unique in the sense that the main characters are well drawn out and face issues that are common to every child, such as bullying, blended families, physical challenges, and personal journeys into discovering who they are and what they can be. This book is great for young readers, and is a great page-turner."

— New book from Guest a real page-turner


Outcasts of River Falls

Fun read with hidden history and the trickiest mystery ever! Kathryn is desperate to save her aunt from hanging but to do it, she must outsmart her enemies, betray her friends and unmask the Canadian Robin Hood! Yes! Outcasts of River Falls has a Robin Hood character and figuring out the identity will keep you guessing until the very end. Great book.

Top  Grade
Librarian review

Outcasts of River Falls

To succeed in Toronto in the early 1900s, Kathryn’s father had kept their Métis heritage a secret, even from his daughter. But when he dies, 14-year-old Kathryn must leave her school to live with her Aunt Belle in Alberta – in a shack in the Métis community of River Falls. Barred from owning land, the Métis must find ways to survive. There are lessons to be learned, though: from her aunt, the Métis community, and the world around her.

This story combines fact and fiction to tell the story of Kathryn, a Torontonian from a well-to-do family, who moves to Alberta after her father’s death and learns about the family he left behind. Using historical moments in Canadian history, this book brings to life the plight of the Métis people. A short historical note at the end of the book can be used to further the discussion of Louis Riel and the Battle of Batoche.

Teacher’s guide available (http://coteaubooks.com/assets/HTML/studyguides/Outcasts%20of%20River%20Falls%20Study%20Guide%20final_Study%20Guide.pdf)

The Comic Book War by Jacqueline Guest; Ghost Messages by Jacqueline Guest

Author available for school visits. @JacquelineGuest

Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.

Association of Book Publishers of BC
Librarian review

Outcasts of River Falls

This is a well-researched novel describing the culture and history of the Métis. It’s 1901 and after suddenly becoming an orphan, well-bred young Kathryn must travel from Toronto to live with her Aunt Belle in Alberta. Kathryn is shocked to learn that not only is she a Métis, but that she will face a life of struggle and marginalization. Her new home is a community of squatters’ shacks because the Métis are barred from owning land. Also, she is excluded from attending school. Intrigue begins when Kathryn learns of the mysterious highwayman who helps the poor by robbing from the rich. When he is framed for murder, Kathryn uses her intelligence, charm and courage to prove his innocence. Although Outcasts of River Falls is the sequel to Belle of Batoche, the novel can be read alone.

Caution: Includes a reference to a sexual assault.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2012-2013.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Outcasts of River Falls

After Kathryn’s father’s death, she moves to Alberta to live with her Aunt Belle. Having never learned about the struggles of her Métis relations, she begins to learn about them from her aunt. When a mysterious highwayman comes to town and is framed for a crime, Aunt Belle tries to protect him. Is she placing herself in danger, and how will Kathryn be able to help? This is the sequel to Belle of Batoche.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Spring, 2012.

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