Wednesday, April 16, 2014

THE RAFT by S. A. Bodeen

The RaftLiving in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on Midway Atoll among a bunch of researchers doesn't offer much excitement so Robie is thrilled that she has been able to visit her aunt in Honolulu.  Unfortunately, her aunt is called away on business and that leaves Robie with two choices - head back to the lonely Midway islands early or stay in her aunt's apartment being watched over by an annoying, nosy neighbor.  Robie decides in favor of the apartment despite the irritation of having to be looked after by a chatty, old woman.

Much to Robie's delight, her aunt's neighbor doesn't seem to be around which leaves Robie free to occupy herself any way she chooses.  However, when mysterious noises disturb her on her first night alone, Robie decides home doesn't sound so bad after all.  From past experience she knows she can hop aboard a freight plane headed to Midway without any ticket or advanced notice so she hastily packs her bags and catches a ride to the airport. 

Being a passenger on a transport plane is definitely not first class.  As the only passenger, Robie is instructed to strap herself into a seat located behind the cockpit among the boxes and supplies all packed for delivery to the plane's final destination.  She is barely able to get a glimpse inside the cockpit to watch the pilot and copilot as they fly the plane.

Not long into the flight they run into the path of a storm and the turbulence is incredible.  It is worse than any rough flight Robie has ever experienced.  As the roughness of the ride increases, Robie begins to worry about the seriousness of the situation, and when the copilot comes back to tell her they have lost an engine and the pilot has decided to ditch the plane in the ocean, she is terrified.

The next thing Robie knows, the copilot is shoving her and the plane's life raft out the emergency exit and into a raging sea.  What follows are days of blazing sun, no water, no food except for a handful of Skittles candy, and a desperate attempt to survive long enough to be rescued.  When Robie realizes that her parents have no idea she even left Hawaii on this fateful trip, she becomes convinced that her final days will be spent bobbing around in a sinking life raft as sharks prowl the waters around her.

Author S. A. Bodeen's THE RAFT is sure to have readers on the edge of their seats as they root for Robie to survive the ordeal.  With gritty detail and frightening clarity, Bodeen made me feel like I was in that life raft clinging to life right along with her characters.

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