November 3, 2012

Review of The Raft by S.A. Bodeen


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.

The Raft by S.A. Bodeen
Publication Date:  April 21, 2012
Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends

I couldn’t find a trailer, so here’s a song!
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** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

So when it came to The Raft by author S.A. Bodeen I have gotta admit that I was a bit hesitant. The last time I read a novel about a character being deserted and left to survive by themselves,  I was left majorly disappointed and slightly annoyed… but I’m glad that the Raft finished and left me in a fairly positive mood.  The Raft was the type of novel that I personally believe survival stories should be about, just because it focuses more on the fact that the character is aware of her imminent doom and is left to fend for herself.

The Raft focuses on main character Robie who after being left alone in an apartment in Hawaii, stows away on a plane to get back to the island her parents are at.  The plane crashes and Robie finds herself lost at sea in a life raft with limited supplies with the plane’s co-pilot Max. Robie battles the ocean itself, her humanity and comes to term with the fact that unless she comes across a miracle she will die. In The Raft, you find yourself watching Robie as she struggles not only physically but—and more excitingly—psychologically.

The Raft began in a way that I found amusing and a bit relatable, it starts with the main character getting her nose pierced. Immediately I found myself smiling and getting bitten with a bit of jealousy (I’ve always wanted a nose piercing!!) and considering the fact that Robie is told that if she gets ocean water into the piercing hole that it would get infected I noticed the irony. And spoiler alert: It totally gets infected, in case that much wasn’t obvious enough already. Anyhow, Robie finds herself left to her own business in her friend’s apartment and after getting assaulted in the mall, leaves to go be with her parents.

While surviving in the raft, Robie grows close with Max who throughout the novel slips in and out of consciousness. I have to admit the entire novel I questioned Max’s existence as a character, he seemed strange and wasn’t built up on all that much—he didn’t seem ideal to the plot until the very end of the novel which I’ll get into later. I will say that Max did seem romantic considering whenever he spoke about his dead girlfriend you got a real sense of tragedy from Bodeen’s writing style.

I think it’s a bit bad that the entire novel I was secretly hoping that the novel would get very realistic and that Robie would in fact die. I mean, there would be a total sense of realism there right? How many people who get lost at sea actually survive and get to come home all perfect and peachy? Zero.  (And if I find a bunch of comments with statistics and how the above was completely wrong… Gabby ‘gon find you. )

The ending of the novel I found would have been my favorite part, considering that the climax of the plot (I found) is when we learn that Max is actually *omitted from review via the bat cave computer*. It was crazy and makes your eyes widen in shock and the fact that everything suddenly makes sense after the *omitted* event.

I would recommend the Raft to fans of Lost Girls, readers who want a quick entertaining read that can be finished in one sitting and fans who want to know what it feels like to be lost at sea.

About the Author:


Stephanie is the award-winning author of the Elizabeti’s Doll series of picture books, as well as several others. Her first young adult novel The Compound was released in 2008 and recently won the 2011 Maryland BlackEyedSusan Award. Her second YA The Gardener was featured on Good Morning America as a Best Summer Teen Read, and her third YA The Raft will be released in summer 2012. All are from Feiwel and Friends/MacMillan.

Also writes as Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen.

 Connect with the author:  Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

 Available for purchase:
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  1. Although I don’t like it when the main character dies, I can totally understand that it would make this story more realistic and believable :) Great review and I think I will enjoy this book!

  2. Chapter by Chapter

    Thanks Mel! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this one :)

  3. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    Great review! I wasn’t a big fan of this book. I found it a bit boring to be honest. I get that she’s stranded and trying to survive, but things were a little too convenient, and what is with the sharks?! For real, it was like they were purposely out to get her and make things hard on her. It was a very quick read, and I did like the beginning, and the end, but the rest was meh for me.

  4. Chapter by Chapter

    I agree that there were points in the book that did get a little stupid and the plot went dry. Totally agree that things did get too convenience out at sea. I felt like the sharks were more like a filler in the plot lol Thanks for stopping by :)

  5. Chapter by Chapter

    Hope you enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Elena Calderone

    Hi there. I’ll start by saying that this is an amazing review. I just finished this book and I think I’m losing it. I’ve searched all over the web for anything that can help me understand the ending. I get everything except for the last page basically. I wont spoil anything for the other viewers but if you could PLEASE email me and explain what I just can’t seem to understand? I’m begging you haha, I just can’t figure out the ending, and I’m normally very good at that. So you’ve got to understand this is driving me crazy. I would absolutely love it if you helped me out with this. Loved your review, loved the book, thanks for your time(:

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