Author: S. A. Bodeen
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Acquired: Once Upon a Twilight ARC Tour
The Raft is a contemporary young adult novel by S. A. Bodeen that follows Robie – a fifteen year old girl who lives with her research scientist parents on Midway Island – after her plane crash on her flight home from Honolulu, Hawaii.
The Writing of The Raft is perfect for a young adult reader, but still has crossover appeal for adult readers. It is not too technical and does not use terminology that would potentially be daunting for a more reluctant reader. There are scientific facts woven into the story, but it is done in such a way that makes the story flow and could very possibly interest a reader into finding out more about various settings, creatures, situations, etc. in the novel.
While it is not too technical in structure, there is definitely a literary streak to the story. Robie found herself in two old-fashioned literary conflicts – Man Vs. Nature and Man Vs. Himself (okay – Girl Vs.). She found herself at odds with the elements and wildlife throughout the story, in addition to the hard decisions that she was forced to make in order to survive – along with dealing with their repercussions. This is a modern book would be great to read in a classroom setting since it does not have the intimidation connotation that lingers around “classics”. There is current pop culture references made throughout the story that I believe would make it even more appealing.
As for character development, Robie is sensational. Readers get to see her grow so much, and I never found myself doubting her choices or behavior during her fight for survival. Max, on the other hand, had quite a few holes. I had difficulty connecting with or caring for him. *Spoiler* Castaway was able to pull a similar character off more efficiently. I cried when Wilson drifted away. With Max, I basically shrugged and went about my business. *End of Spoiler* Honestly, I was more attached the seal that makes an appearance in the book.
My biggest gripe about the writing was that the story felt a bit cliché at times. I feel like this is done quite a bit in the young adult [non]genre, but I can definitely see where a bit of a formula can make a book easier to read. 4/5 Stars
The World Building was so well done that I felt as if I was reading a true account of someone’s survival. Robie was very convincing in her reactions to her various circumstances, and I battled nature and those inner demons right along with her. Bodeen’s implementation of trivial knowledge about the survival kit, sea life, and the islands better illustrated the situations of being lost at sea and life in the Pacific islands for me as a reader, as neither of them are something with which I am familiar. I could see everything in the novel perfectly in my mind, even tasting the salt and fear with Robie. That being said, I’ll probably pass on boarding a cargo flight from Hawaii to Midway if the opportunity ever presents itself. I may also fear tiger sharks more than snakes now. 5/5 Stars
I could not put this book down, so my Attention Span was at one hundred percent. I was glued to the pages, desperate to discover what would befall Robie in the coming chapters. This is not my usual reading material, but I was besotted nonetheless. I was gripping the book for dear life (Robie’s, of course), and on board for its entirety. 5/5 Stars
The Pacing of the novel was perfect, and it is not a long book. I did not ever feel that I was being fed the literary equivalent of pink slime (filler). All of the scenes were necessary to the flow of the novel, and were put together in such a way that my interest never faded. 5/5 Stars
The imminent danger, fear, and horror that saturated the book were all a part of the Extra Magic of The Raft. I believe that is what kept me reading the story. I was disturbed, and one of my usual deal-breakers happened in the course of the novel. Despite that – and maybe because of it, as it worked for the story – I could not put the book down at any point. 5/5 Stars
As I conclude, the main thing important to mention is that the book should be enjoyed by a more mature teen that can handle the intense situations in the story. I would see no problem with a tween picking this book up if they are not weak at heart when it comes to survival. The Raft is a harrowing story of a young girl struggling against the elements and choices, and it is most assuredly a book not to be missed.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for reviewing purposes as a part of the Once Upon a Twilight ARC Tour in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by either the publisher or author, which has had no effect on the outcome. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.