The Raft is written by S. A. Bodeen. It was published in 2012 by Feiwel and Friends. Bodeen’s website can be found here.
Genre: Survival, Young Adult, Realistic
“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 flights at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new copilot 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 and she sees him 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.”
“As we bounced around, tears started sliding down my face. I stopped myself and wiped my eyes with the back of my hand.
There was no need to cry over a little turbulence.
Tons of things are worse than this.
And then there was a hush.
Not totally quiet, but there was just less of a drone than there had been. I leaned over and peered out the window at the starboard engine. At the end of the wing, a blue light winked. Usually, the propellers were nearly invisible in flight, because they were turning so rapidly. But as lightning flashed, I could very clearly see the propeller, circling slowly, turning only with the movement of the plane.
That engine had stopped.”
Hunger, thirst, pain from the infected piercing in my nose. And my lips. They were so dry I was afraid to move them. I forgot once, and licked them. My hands turned into fists until the stinging passed. I made a mental note not to ever lick my lips again.
I thought about The Hunger Games, how when the main character was about to give up, a little silver parachute would come floating down with exactly the item she needed.
At that moment, if I could have a silver parachute bring me anything, I would want some kind of lip balm. Well, no, that would be dumb. I needed food. Maybe some Power Bars. No, I wasn’t supposed to eat if I didn’t have water. So I’d want the silver parachute to bring water. A gallon of water. No, I’d use that up right away. I’d want a water purifier thing, so I could convert salt water to fresh water. But was I going to get any of those things? No. There were no silver parachutes coming my way.
Recommended Age Range: 14+
What I Liked:
This was a decent survival novel. I’ve read some that were a little better, but this one was pretty good. I prefer Bodeen’s other novels, but this one was really good at portraying the emotions that people go through in a situation like Robie’s.
For a brief time, I thought that Bodeen was going to put Max and Robie together. The way she handled it, though, was a lot better than I was expecting. It was also realistic, and slightly eerie.
Oh, man, Robie did some really stupid things. But it contributed to the overall feeling of despair and confusion and hysteria that was going on.
Also, Hunger Games reference for the win.
What I Didn’t Like:
Um, what’s up with that ending? What’s it supposed to mean? Was there something supernatural going on? It was actually mildly creepy.
Oh, man, Robie did some really stupid things. I actually almost yelled at the book a few times.
The Raft captures the emotions of someone in Robie’s situation really well. It’s also really accurate in terms of ways to survive, the way the body reacts, etc. It’s not fantastic, but it’s pretty okay. I actually would have preferred Robie’s time on the island to be a little longer, but maybe I’m thinking too much Swiss Family Robinson.
Coming Up Next: Shift by Em Bailey