The Raft (Book Review)

Israel Planty, Book Reviewer

In The Raft by S. A. Bodeen, Robie Mitchell is staying with her aunt on an island called Oahu, while taking a break from her life with her parents on Midway Atoll. At fifteen, she’s a little rebellious getting her nose pierced without her parents’ permission  and wanting more independence. After her aunt is called to Los Angeles for work, Robie convinces her that she can stay by herself. However, after a man approaches her the first night, Robie wants to go home. The Raft: 8601420087729: S.A. Bodeen: Books

Knowing she’ll be able to take the supply flight to Midway the next night, she tries to reach her parents, but the satellites are down. Shortly after her flight takes off, the plane encounters severe turbulence. Larry, the pilot, attempts to fly ahead of the storm front, but the plane loses an engine and begins to experience hydraulic failure. Larry attempts a controlled crash on the water, which enables Robie and Max (the co-pilot) to escape.

Max helps get Robie out of the water and into the raft. While Max sleeps, Robie leaves to fend for herself. She reads through an instruction card from Max’s supply bag on what to do in the event of crashing at sea. Robie must contend with hunger, thirst, and the elements, while realizing that her name wasn’t on the plane name list and no one knows to come look for her.

When the raft begins to take in water, Robie must face her fears of water and sharks to repair the raft. She’s able to drink some rain water and catch fish for some food. Adrift at sea, Robie continues to survive by herself while Max remains unconscious. Fast forward a couple days, she begins to hear waves crashing on shore. She arrives on an island and begins to collect lights that have washed ashore in hopes that one will contain enough lighter fluid to start a fire. She encounters a seal who has been fatally injured by a shark. Watching the seal suffer hurts her too much, and Robie puts the seal out of its misery. When she sees that a baby seal is nearby, she bonds with the animal.


lizing that Max is still with her, she’s confused about how he made it onto the island. She looks for food and thinks about eating the seal, but she can’t bring herself to do it. Without rain, she also lacks drinking water. Beginning to feel weak, she begins to view her situation as hopeless. As she continues to feel hopeless, she finally acknowledges that Max is a figment of her imagination and that he died on the raft and she dumped his body in the ocean. After locating a lighter, she is able to build a small fire. She falls asleep after giving up hope that she’ll be rescued. In the morning, she wakes to find the fire doused by rain and that she missed the opportunity to drink as well. Then, on the horizon, she thinks she sees a boat. She makes her way to the shore and is rescued.

I rate this book 6/10, good story had everything it needed to be very good but lacked a ending as it ended extremely quick as soon as the story started to climax.