The Raft by S.A. Bodeen
(nominee for Iowa Teen 2014-2015)
Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight. The only passenger, Robie doesn’t panic until the engine suddenly cuts out and Max shouts at her to put on a life jacket. They are over miles of Pacific Ocean. She sees Max struggle with a raft.
And then . . . she’s in the water. Fighting for her life. Max pulls her onto the raft, and that’s when the real terror begins. They have no water. Their only food is a bag of Skittles. There are sharks. There is an island. But there’s no sign of help on the way.
My 25 cents...
This story reminded me of Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. The major difference is this is all happening ON WATER, not on a deserted island. The other major aspect is no one really knows Robie is missing, because her parents think she is safe at her Aunt's house visiting, but her Aunt had to leave on business and thinks she is being checked in on by the neighbor lady. So no one is worried about her or looking for her?! There is a super "plot twist" that I did NOT see coming either, about 3/4 way through the story. I literally stopped reading after that and said WOW! outloud!! If you are a fan of survival type stories you don't want to miss this one!