First Descent by Pam Withers
Perhaps it's no surprise that a book about fast-paced whitewater kayaking would be a real page turner. However, it may be a surprise to some that in the end, this story isn't as much about the original hero, Rex, as it is about Myriam, the girl who he hires to be his native guide to the river he seeks to conquer. In many ways, she makes a better heroine than Rex makes a hero! When the river turns out to be an entirely different kind of adventure for Rex, he must learn to adapt and work with Myriam and the others he's met since leaving Canada. A fast-paced read that explores privilege, cultural differences, and the sharing of stories as much as it explores the wilds of Colombia and the unconquered river that Rex's grandfather never quite tamed.
Full disclosure: I received this book as an advance copy through LibraryThing. The cover of my copy says it'll be on sale Sept 13th, 2011.