The Raft by S.A. Bodeen.
Hardcover, 231 pages.
Pub Date: August 21, 2012.
Published by Feiwel and Friends.
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.
This was quite the interesting read. It had a great plot and a fantastic twist that I totally didn't see coming.
While I enjoyed hearing about Robie's vacation with her aunt on Honolulu, I'm very glad it wasn't too long because, knowing what was coming, the action really picked up for me when Robie was heading onto the airplane. I liked how routine and comfortable Robie felt on the cargo plane. It made the crash feel more shocking, despite knowing it was coming.
I think the plane crash was really well written. It was detailed enough that you could see what was happening, but still fast paced to keep up the action. The raw panic Robie feels when she's thrown from the plane and struggling in the water was very realistic.
I really enjoyed Robie as a character overall. She is not totally useless; she's smart enough to work through panic and fear and try to do what she can to survive. She's not totally unrealistic though, there are moments when her slow disintegration is evident. One thing I really appreciated about her character was that (when she was totally sane) her thought processes make sense. She reaches conclusions through normal thought patterns; her ideas and solutions do not pop out of nowhere like in some other novels.
Sometimes I found some issues with the writing being a little too repetitive, but I do understand that in a way it has to be because living on a raft would certainly be repetitive.
I also have to admit that I found it a little strange how the chapters were split up (there were 57 chapters and an epilogue in 231 pages!), but it did help to keep me reading and helped the novel feel more fast paced overall, so in the end it's not really a bad thing.
THE TWIST! Oh my gosh the twist. I completely did not see this coming. I noticed a few inconsistencies in the novel that I planned to comment on in this review, until the twist came along and they all made complete sense! I was totally shocked and really impressed. The author certainly pulled a fast one on me! I felt like I should have seen it all along.
Overall, I thought it was a pretty great book with a fantastic spin that made it very different from other disaster-type novels I've read.