Saturday, January 11, 2014

The raft by S.A. Bodeen

Robie has spent the past few weeks in Hawaii with her aunt AJ, a chance to get away from the close confines on Midway Island where she is the only teenager among the scientists living and working on the island.  When her aunt has to travel for work she leaves Robie alone, confident that Robie wont get into too much trouble because someone will be looking in on her - but instead Robie finds herself unexpectedly free of babysitters and supervision.  Although she is sensible she makes one small mistake which leads to a last minute decision to catch a ride on the freight flight back to Midway Island, a chance to return to normal quickly.

On the way back to the island disaster strikes and the plane goes down, leaving Robie and the co-pilot Max stranded in the middle of nowhere in a raft - a raft that keeps them out of the water but has no supplies and seemingly no hope.  Lost in the water they can only depend on each other, but Max is in a bad way and their raft has sprung a leak.  Robie will need to find the strength to survive, not only for herself but also for Max.  They are facing an unknown time at sea with no emergency locator beacon, no water, a bag of skittles for food, and they are surrounded by a part of the ocean where Robie knows there are Tiger sharks - the garbage cans of the ocean who would have no problems picking either of them off.  Robie and Max have tough times ahead of them, and it will take all their mental and physical reserves to survive.

The raft is a gripping read that sucks you into the story and refuses to let to you go from the moment you realise the plane is in trouble until the last sentence.  This is one of those stories where describing what happens or dissecting the characters too much will spoil the story because there are some important moments for you to discover alongside Robie - as it is her voice and story that drives the novel along.  I was impressed with The raft and really enjoyed losing myself in the story for an hour or two - Bodeen has a talent for writing tense drama with a minimum of fuss and without all the excess description that can drag down some novels and make them boring - you simply don't have time to be bored with Bodeen because you never know what is going to happen next.

I would highly recommend The raft, and although some boys may roll their eyes because the main character is a girl this is one of those books that deserves to be discovered by readers of all ages and both genders.  If you are looking for a fantastic read about human nature and survival then this is it - this could be the Island of the blue dolphins for a new generation.

If you like this book then try:
  • The compound by S.A. Bodeen
  • The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
  • Checkers by John Marsden
  • Proxy by Alex London
  • Island of the blue dolphins by Scott O'Dell
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • The Cay by Theodore Taylor
  • When we wake by Karen Healey
  • Survival by Chris Ryan
  • I am the cheese by Robert Cormier
  • The limit by Kristin Landon

Reviewed by Brilla

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