Robie lives on Midway Atoll with her parents. It's not a very exciting life. No kids. She's home schooled. So she visits her aunt in Honolulu every chance she gets. It's about a five hour flight, and she catches rides on the supply planes that go back and forth between the two islands.
At the beginning of the story, Robie is in Honolulu and through a confluence of events, and some stupidity on Robie's part, she ends up on a flight back home. No one knows she is on the flight. She didn't tell her parents she was coming back early. Her aunt is gone, and Robie doesn't tell her she's leaving. She doesn't even get included on the manifest for the plane because of a miscommunication. The plane crashes. Robie ends up in a raft in the middle of the ocean and fighting for her life.
Max, the co-pilot who Robie doesn't know, helps save her life by getting her off the plane and into the raft. For the next couple of weeks, Max helps her a lot. She has no water, and only a bag of Skittles for food. She suffers the usual sun burn, dehydration, and hunger. There are the inevitable sharks, too.
I liked The Raft, even though it wasn't that original, because of Robie. She carries on this inner dialog, and also a dialog with Max, that helps the reader really get to know her and sympathize with her. She's a good girl. She struggles mightily to survive. She's also a typical teen -- at first worried about taking her clothes off in the middle of the ocean. She does some stupid things, but also at times is very smart and practical (she has to be!) She cares about wildlife, and has difficulty seeing birds and fish as food. I built a relationship with Robie during her ordeal. Bodeen does a great job of describing this character and this situation that makes you feel it.
The Raft is a survival story worth the experience. Robie gets to know herself better throughout this ordeal, as we get to know her too. I won't hesitate to recommend The Raft to my teens who enjoy this type of story.
Published by Feiwel & Friends, August 21, 2012
eARC obtained from NetGalley
240 pages (qualifies for my Books You Can Read in a Day Challenge!)
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