by S.A. Bodeen
Expected publication: August 21st 2012 by 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 just 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 injured 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?
Genre: Young Adult, Survival
Publication Date: August 21st 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: eARC, 231 pages
Fifteen year-old Robie just got her nose pierced while visiting her aunt in Hawaii. When her aunt has to go away for work and decides to send her back home a week before the end of her vacation, she begs to stay a bit longer, by herself. After some deliberation, her aunt says she can stay, but under the agreement that a friend of hers will stop by everyday to check up on Robie. By an ironic twist of fate, said friend calls Robie' s aunt's apartment when she's already gone and asks the girl to let her aunt know she won't be able to hold up her part in the agreement. Robie is ecstatic. She'll be on her own for the first time!
But after one day alone, she's not as near excited anymore and decides to go home. She tries to contact her family, but they live in an isolated island where comunication goes down very often. So she decides to surprise them and let her aunt know when she gets there. She then boards a cargo plane to Midway, but for some reason her name is not documented in the passanger's list. When things go wrong with the engines and co-pilot Max throws a life-saver at her and starts screaming for her to get ready to jump, it hits her: the plane is falling and nobody knows she's in it.
Max pushes her off the plane and then fishes her out of the sea and on to the raft, then goes quiet. Robie is trying her best not to freak out, but they're alone, in the middle of nowhere, in the dark and cold, with no water or food, with just a thin layer of plastic between them and the sharks she's read so much about. And Max seems to be getting worse. His pulse is getting slower and slower and she almost can't feel it anymore. But, luckily, he makes a turn for the best. To try and pass the time, she surveys the raft and finds a pamphlet with advice on survival at sea, which comes in very handy.
Robie has many interesting adventures while at sea, involving sharks, seagulls, attempts at fishing and fixing the leaking raft, trying to get the attention of a plane, doing her best to drink as much rain water as possible, hitting a reef and washing up on an island... there was never a dull moment.
The description of the plane falling were terrifying. I kept picturing myself in Robie's place. And I wanted to shake her real bad! To tell her: 'wake up and do something!'. LOL. But she was in shock and just froze. If not for Max, she would be dead. He saved her life twice, and both times she had just given up, preparing herself to die, making no effort at all. I understand she was very young and very scared, but her survival instincts weren't very good. Or she was just very weak. A very weak person and very weak character. If the situations weren't so fascinating and if I wasn't so curious as to know what a person should do in her place, I would have given uo on Robie and the book. But I'm glad her hardships and my curiosity wouldn't allow me.
The book is very short, and the ending was very bittersweet. Deep inside we know what happens with Max, (especially because he's always asleep, never eats, hardly drinks or speaks...) but, like Robie, we're in denial. Still, it was quite a read and I enjoyed it.
If you like YA survival books with a lot of tension and drama, a big load of information on birds, marine creatures and great tips on how to survive, you'll really like The Raft.
* I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*