Review: The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on March 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

Review: The Raft by S.A. BodeenThe Raft by S.A. Bodeen
Published by Feiwel and Friends (8.21.2012)
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 231 pages
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon

2.5 Stars

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.

My thoughts

First of all, this situation would be AWFUL. I’m a bit of a piglet and I can’t imagine going more than a day without eating. (or going without my Dew, yes yes roll your eyes) The situation of this story alone was enough to make it riveting. It was a very quick read – I finished it in a couple of hours. So why only 2.5 stars? Because certain aspects were a little far-fetched and unrealistic for me to swallow. The sharks, the seals (especially them), the liters, and the “bait ball.” I’d never heard the term for the latter, and while I know it exists, it just seemed too…convenient. Many things in this novel were convenient. And HELLO, if you’re on an island swarming with seals, turtles, birds, and bird eggs, why wouldn’t it be your first thought to EAT any of the above?! I feel like the starvation crisis took a major backseat to the dehydration crisis. There wasn’t really much mention of being hungry.

Robie, Robie, Robie. Good Lord, I wanted to knock some sense into her. Sure, the situation is desperate, and yes, it warrants a bit of a breakdown and some crying. I’m not sure I would have been able to keep a level head either. But still, I just felt that her blubbering was taken to an extreme.


She was a fairly weak character and annoyed the crap out of me. Not to mention she was a complete moron. She wastes precious resources, freaks out and does really stupid things (like throwing stuff overboard), and she didn’t think of Max AT ALL. She did everything only in regard for herself.

I feel like there wasn’t enough emotion in The Raft. This should have been a desperate struggle for life, and I felt like the essential struggle was missing. It didn’t seem like there was ever a question of whether Robie would live or not. She was never close enough to dying for me, even though she was stuck out at sea with no resources at all.

The twist was what really made me like this one. There were things along the way that didn’t make sense, and then something happened and I was like OHHHH, that’s why! It changes the way you look at the whole story. I never saw it coming! The feeling of shock was what really made this one worth it for me.

Side note, can someone PLEASE make me some Better Than Anything Cake? I so want to try that.

Plot: 3/5
It seemed like action was created too purposefully.
Writing Style: 3/5
Characters: 1/5
I kind of hated Robie. Especially after the twist.
Pace: 5/5
Cover: 4.5/5
Half a starfish docked for the lull in the middle where I got the full life documentary of an Albatross.
Overall rating: 2.5/5 starfish
Not overly impressive, but still worth a read.
Jessi (Geo)

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