Author: S.A. Bodeen
Title: The Raft
Genre: Young Adult, Survival, Adventure
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Publication Date: August 21,2012
Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight. The only passenger, Robie doesn’t panic until the engine suddenly cuts out and Max shouts at her to put on a life jacket. They are over miles of Pacific Ocean. She sees Max struggle with a raft.
And then . . . she’s in the water. Fighting for her life. Max pulls her onto the raft, and that’s when the real terror begins. They have no water. Their only food is a bag of Skittles. There are sharks. There is an island. But there’s no sign of help on the way.
Robie is like any typical teenager. She likes rock music, does things to intentionally irk her parents and thinks she can take on anything and everything life could throw at her. Boy was she wrong! When Robie ends up stranded at sea, life doesn't just get complicated it gets downright terrifying. Worst of all nobody even knows she was on the plane that crashed. The Raft will leave you speechless and make you question flying ever again.
The Raft starts out following Robie on Oahu vacationing with her Aunt. Can I just say I love reading books where I know the actual places the characters visit. I totally squealed with delight at the mention of Robie shopping at The International Marketplace and visiting Ala Moana Center. I can picture those places so easily and so it was super easy being transported into her location.
Unfortunately for Robie after a terrifying incident with a stranger leaves her questioning staying alone, Robie decides to catch a flight home early. Since Robie lives on Midway Island she has to take the supply plane or wait a couple weeks for a passenger plane to make the trip. In her haste to get home Robie forgets to sign in putting her on the manifest. When the transport plane suffers dual engine failure and crashes and no sign of wreckage found they call off the search leaving Robie and the pilot Max stranded on a raft out at sea.
I felt the survival elements worked perfectly in this book. Even though Robie lives on an isolated island she doesn't enjoy the ocean which mean she doesn't have much knowledge on how to survive in it. Robie relies on instructions found inside the raft. These come equipped within every raft and detail how to patch the raft, gather fish, how to obtain fresh water. For an average reader these details being read over and over might seems monotonous but they are important and lets face it what else is their to do??
I really appreciated that The Raft didn't shy away from details such as gutting a freshly caught fish, or showing Robies delirium from lack of fresh water. The Raft even described the burns she suffered from being out at sea and having nothing to shield her from the sun. It's the little details that made this such a believable survival at sea story. Robie wasn't a survivalist, she had to become one if she wanted to live.
One tiny fault I found with The Raft was the lack of search and rescue. It is presumed some happens but it never really states that Robie's raft has drifted miles from the crash site which is why no search and rescue vessels or planes had been spotted. Even if S&R didn't find survivors the plane would still be searched for so they could look at the black box and piece together what happened. That just sort of bugged me.
Overall, I really loved Robie's struggle for survival. Robie's companion Max was also a great character even though I figured out the twist rather early on concerning him. I also loved Starbuck though was sad at the end when that mean ole shark ate him. In the end, I loved this book! The Raft was perfectly paced with strong writing and enjoyable characters. I can't asked for much more than that. I would definitely recommend picking this one up if you like the genre and giving it a go. With that being said, I will be rating The Raft by S.A. Bodeen ★★★★★.