This is a delayed success, since I bought a small set of copies for my class library last year only to have my students reject it in favor of Matched and Divergent. This year a couple of key players, popular kids, raved about it, so I broke down and read it myself. Their recomendation along with mine has set the trend. Now everyone wants a copy.
I’m told that the apparently dead girl on the cover didn’t hurt the book’s appeal either.
The story concerns Robie, a teenage girl on her way home to Midway Island. After the small plane she is travelling on crashes into the Pacific, she is alone on an infated raft with only the unconcious pilot for company. The story of her survival is intermixed with thoughts of her past and the pilot’s stories about his own youth which he tells her once he wakes up.
Or does he?
The Raft would have made for a darn good thriller even without the big plot twist two thirds of the way through, but I have to admit–I love a good, jaw dropping plot twist. My students do, too. Plus, if the teacher can honestly gasp out loud while reading a book, the students are going to be intereted. I confess, I hammed my gasp up just a little bit.
The Raft is a terrific little book for average to advanced middle school readers. I suspect it would also appeal to low to middle high school readers and to quite a few adults as well.