Cover Story: Tragedy Chic
Lord, I hate this cover so much. From the weird haute couture pose of the model to the fact that I can SEE DOWN HER TOP to the fact that it looks like she’s just chilling out on a pool floatie instead of, you know, DEFENDING HER LIFE AGAINST SHARKS, this cover is a big fake sell. It looks like the model walked off the set of an American Eagle ad shoot and decided to play around with the camera’s self-timer settings.
Man, S.A. Bodeen likes to terrorize us. This time, instead of impending (or post-) apocalypses, she’s writing the story of Robie, a girl who lives on Midway Island, one of the Pacific Atoll islands near Hawaii’s main islands. Lucky, right? Except for how boring it can be, with no cable, patchy internet, and parents a bit more interested in researching dolphins than hanging out with their fifteen year old. So Robie goes to Honolulu any chance she can get, staying with her aunt, getting her nose pierced and generally living her teenaged life.
But when a would-be mugger frightens Robie into hopping a supply flight back home, everything goes pear-shaped. The plane crashes. The pilot’s missing. And Robie finds herself floating on the Pacific, with only silent, injured Max and a bag of skittles for company. The sharks are circling, land is nowhere in sight, and time is running out.
BFF Charm: Meh
I keep going back and forth on this. Robie is SO kickass and strong, even when she is totally overwhelmed with everything adding up against her. She’s funny, knows a lot (too much) about sharks, and LIVES ON AN ISLAND.
But I just can’t get over the fact that she basically hopped a supply flight without even telling her parents or aunt what she was doing. Robie! You go to 7-11 without telling anyone what you’re doing. NOT ANOTHER ISLAND.
Swoonworthy Scale: 0
Although Max is pretty hot, this is not a swoon book, and Max is not swoony. Just . . . trust me on this.
Talky Talk: Terrifying
Look, I am not particularly afraid of sharks. I mean, mostly this is because I’m so scared of fish and seaweed that I avoid ever going in the ocean, and because I hate people, the sun, and wearing bathing suits, I don’t even hang out on the beach. So even if, like, a shark grew legs and waddled onto the beach wearing a pair of sunglasses and a big toothy grin, I wouldn’t be there for him to eat. So really there’s just no reason for me to be scared.
BUT. I am terrified of being shipwrecked on the ocean. It’s not all Swiss Family Robinson, folks! Most of the time it’s “unidentified body washed up on the beach,” you know what I mean? And so reading a book where the main character floats endlessly in the ocean FOR DAYS . . . yikes. Bodeen really knows how to rachet up the terror.
Bonus Factor: Hatchet
Hatchet was one of my favorite books when I was an actual YA. (Except for how it explained the pilot farting as he had his heart attack that led to the crash. Gross.) I love any story about kids surviving against all odds. As long as I can read about it from the safety of my warm bed.
Bonus Factor: Wilson
Without giving too much away, Robie definitely gets herself a Wilson. And her “throw the volleyball in the ocean” scene is heartbreaking.
Relationship Status: Amazing Race Partners
Let’s face it; I would suck on The Amazing Race. I can’t drive stick; I suck at directions, and the one time I tried to rock climb it resulted in me hopping off the ground, trying to hold onto the rock wall and shouting “I’M DOING IT” at the smug little nine year old bastard children who were scampering up vertical rock surfaces.
But with this book, I’d definitely win TAR! It could do all the heavy lifting (literally) and I could distract it from all the sharks circling us by telling funny stories! We’d be the best team ever until we were quickly killed and eaten by marine animals.
FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Macmillan. I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (damnit!). The Raft is available in stores now.