Thursday, January 23, 2014

YA Castaway Story Feels A Little Thin

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

As much as Robie Mitchell enjoys living with her biologist parents on the Midway Atoll, a collection of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, sometimes a girl needs to hang out with people instead of monk seals and albatross.  That's why she flies to the mainland so often.  In Honolulu, she can spend time with her aunt doing all the fun things she can't do on Midway—going to the movies, getting pedicures, eating out, even getting her nose pierced.  

When her latest visit to Hawaii turns sour, though, Robie's ready to head home.  She boards a supply plane—a familiar enough procedure, although the co-pilot's new—and settles in for the ride.  With a storm brewing outside, it's a rough one.  Especially when the engine starts to give out.  Before she can even comprehend what's happening, Robie—the plane's only passenger—is pushed out of the doomed aircraft into the icy water.  All she's got is a life raft, a package of Skittles and an injured, unconscious co-pilot.  With nothing but ocean all around her, there are a million dangers for Robie to worry about.  Especially as the hours wear on with very little hope of rescue.  A lone teenage girl can't possibly survive.  Can she?

Castaway stories are as old as the hills, so finding a new and different way to tell one can't be easy.  Which explains why The Raft, a survival story by S.A. Bodeen, feels like the same ole, same ole.  It's exciting, sure, as Robie deals with the usual adrift-at-sea problems—hunger, thirst, sunburn, sharks, holes in the raft, etc.—but the plot stretches mighty thin in places.  While the fact that she's pretty much alone makes Robie's plight all the more perilous, I longed for more human drama in this story.  Without it, the tale feels as flimsy as, well, a leaky life raft.  The Raft kept did keep me entertained on a long plane flight (although it maybe wasn't the best in-air reading choice), but it left me feeling kind of meh.  In the end, this one just didn't impress me all that much.  Ah, well.

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of Sharks & Boys by Kristen Tracy)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:  


 for brief, mild language (no F-bombs) and intense scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Raft from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.  

4 comments:

  1. I agree with you that there was quite a bit left out that could have helped maybe. But it was okay.

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  2. I don't think I would want to read a survival book while on a plane! I remember reading Stiff: The Curious Life of Cadavers and deciding to bring a different book with me when I traveled (I was about to start the chapter on planes and black boxes)!

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  3. I agree wholheartedly! I just felt...underwhelmed by this one.

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  4. I've heard that this is very average, which is a shame because I love a good castaway story! I'll still be checking it out, although your review just confirms what other people have been telling me. Oh well!

    ReplyDelete

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