Release Date: 21st August, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Robie, 15, lives with her family on the Midway atoll, a group of islands in the middle of the Pacific. Her parents are scientists; it's an isolated life. Robie enjoys visiting her aunt in Hawaii - she gets back and forth on a cargo plane that brings supplies to Midway.
During a visit, her aunt is called to the mainland for a work emergency leaving Robie to get home on her own. On her flight back to Midway the cargo plane hits nasty weather, and goes down. It's juust Robie, the pilot, and Max, a co-pilot she's never met till this flight, on board. Robie is pulled aboard a raft by Max, who is injuried and slipping in and out of consciousness. They have a bag of candy and very little water between them. When they finally reach an island that seems abandoned, Robie hopes they'll be found quickly. But she's not sure she was even on the flight manifest. Her parents must be looking for her . . . aren't they?
In The Raft, S.A. Bodeen creates a hair-raising suspense story that will have readers agonizing over the same question as Robie - how long can they survive?
A big thanks to the publisher on netGalley for accepting my request in reading this book early!
So, when it comes down to S.A. Bodeen's novel THE RAFT, I was mostly intrigued by the cover and soon after quickly reading the blurb, I was more than happy to read anything in a book that has a little bit of survivor skill and instinct in them. Honestly, who doesn't love survivors and the depths they go to in order to stay alive in the most dire of all circumstances? Take for example Hunger Games . . . Lord of the Flies . . . Battle Royale . . . you name it because we love those named titles and the strengths in their characters. However, with my love of contemporary novels combined with my love of the survival elements, and while this may not be your typical survivor storyline, unfortunately this was one of those books where I found myself not loving nor feel any connection with. The book may appeal to many other readers and it certainly did have some promise as I reader further into the book, but for me the execution of all of the events that occured just didn't do it for me. I struggled most with the believeability of it.
I understand there's not a lot to do when the central characters are stranded on a floating boat or are stuck alone on an island for quite some time - without food, without water, without shelter and without any help of another human being whatsoever - but the point of books is to connect with its characters and make you somewhat feel for them. For Robie's character in particular, the story's main protagonist, I wanted to care about her situation but with so many wrong decisions made by her well . . . there was not enough there to make me like her. While we do receive plenty of information about her life - before and after the crash - but there was again no interest from me in her character. Robie does grow towards the end of the novel, but she was a hard person to like and grow fond of.
Other than her character, we also meet another - the co-pilot of the crashed plane, a young man named Max. Now unlike Robie's character, I really enjoyed the oddness Max had brought to the storyline. He was quiet, he seemed to know what to do in the most deadly situations, but most importantly he was someone you felt comfortable to be around with. But when trouble arises, though, Max soon becomes to only person Robie can depend on and not to mention he has secrets people . . . lot's and lot's of secrets. As much as I hate to say it, but if it wasn't for Max's character, I don't know if I would've been able to pull through this book like I did. So pretty much like with Robie's character, you had to count on Max to save the day and I loved him for it to make me continue with this novel.
Without going into further and spoilery details, let's just say the ending confused the hell out of me. It took me a few moments to comprehend what exactly happened to the main character and her co-pilot Max, but once I got myself a full explanation and took a few deep breaths, I was eventually happy. So don't fear you guys - there's still interesting twists in this! Overall, THE RAFT was an intense YA survivor story and while the reaction I'd gotten from the book wasn't exactly a great one, but it was still a nice read to read for the sake of it. You know, one of those books that remain once-reads. But if you choose to read this book, please don't judge it based on my lower star rating because I could definitely see many readers still enjoying this one. Just be prepared for a thrilling ride of self-doubt because you will need that lifeboat the character's are on as you dive deeper and deeper into the dangerous waters of THE RAFT because it's by far one of the craziest books I've read in a while!