Monday, April 13, 2015

Book Review: The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

Title: The Raft
Author: S.A. Bodeen
Publication Date: August 21, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 231
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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.

I love a good survival story. I LOVE them! So when I saw the cover of The Raft, I figured it was probably for me. And when I read the description, I knew it for sure!

The raft is emotionally wrenching from page one when the heroine is introduced. She lives on a tiny island with not much to do and takes refuge in visits with her aunt in Honolulu, Hawaii. Almost immediately, the action begins. After a terrifying encounter with a creepy homeless(?) guy on the street, Robie knows she has to get back home in a hurry. When she realizes there are no passenger flights going out, she decides to take the cargo flight home. After all, she's done it in the past with no issues. But this time there is an issue. The plane goes down. And my heart was in my throat for the rest of the book.

There's no romance here. Although Robie survives with the co-pilot, Max, he is there solely to survive and he has enough of his own issues without taking on any of Robie's. In fact, he's not a very likable character at all. But that's fine, because Robie carries this story on her own. She's a fantastic narrator. She has to be since she's basically alone for the entirety of this book! Although she isn't entirely reliable...

There is a very natural flow to the action of The Raft. Being stranded at sea with constant action would not be very believable. The author has created a situation that makes sense in the context of the story but is never boring. It was the opposite of boring, really, keeping me on my toes from start to finish. This was truly one of the most emotional books I've encountered, second only to the one book that has ever made me cry, which also happened to be a survival story.

Believe it or not, although Robie is stranded in the middle of the ocean and then stranded on an island for the entire book, there is a twist in this book that I did not see coming at all. Not.At.All. The twist in The Raft was early 2000's M. Night Shyamalan quality. It literally left me gasping for breath and that's not something I've ever been able to say about any other book.

I really can't recommend this book highly enough! It was a very short, very quick read, with a satisfying wrap up that had me immediately in search of other books by S.A. Bodeen. I can't wait to get my hands on more of her work! But really... go read this book!