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Book Review: The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

Because her parents are scientists living on the Midway Atoll, a group of islands in the Pacific, Robie has become something of a seasoned traveler.  Shuttling between those islands and Honolulu, where her aunt lives, has become a complete routine.  But when she has to get home quickly, a decision to take a cargo plane ends up being a total mistake.  When the plane goes down into the water, Robie is stuck on a raft with her co-pilot Max (who is essentially comatose).  The two are stranded in the water, with limited supplies and an even more limited chance of being rescued.

This survival tale from S.A. Bodeen is an engaging take on the adventure genre for teens.  In a story that should appeal to both male and female readers (and whose relatively short length might work for reluctant readers), Bodeen mixes suspense with facts that only occasionally cross over into didacticism.  Of course, that won’t matter to readers who find themselves riveted by Robie’s story.

And it is a riveting tale.  Despite the fact that Robie isn’t an entirely likable character, her often almost stream-of-consciousness narration helps propel the book forward.  Although Robie spends much of the book alone with her own thoughts, the pacing never falters, and readers will tear through this one in their quest to see how it ends.

A strong addition to the adventure/survival genre for teens, this one would pair well with Kristen Tracy’s Sharks & Boys (don’t let the light-ish title fool you).  Recommended for reluctant readers looking for a dash of realism with their danger.

The Raft is out now.

The Raft by S.A. Bodeen. Feiwel & Friends: 2012. Electronic galley accepted for review via NetGalley.