The Raft

The Raft

by S. A. Bodeen


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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.

The Raft is a thrilling novel of survival from award-winning author S.A. Bodeen.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250027399
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 05/28/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 44,473
Product dimensions: 5.76(w) x 8.06(h) x 0.66(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

S. A. Bodeen's first novel, The Compound, earned her a "Flying Start" from PW and was chosen by YALSA as a Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. She lives in Oregon with her family.

Read an Excerpt



The dude with the lime-green Mohawk and dark wooden plugs in his earlobes looked down at me, the long silver needle in his rubber-gloved hand pointed directly at my face.

“Wait.” I swallowed and gripped the arms of my chair.

Jutting out one hip, he rolled his eyes. “Do you want your nose pierced or not?”

“Yes, just … can you tell me something worse?” I pointed at the needle. “Something that is worse than that?”

He probably thought my request was insane, but that was how I coped with unpleasant things. Once I found out something worse, then it was easier to deal with. Whether it was a filling at the dentist or an end-of-term physics test, finding out things that were worse helped me deal with new challenges.

Green Mohawk Dude seemed to think about it as he looked around. A blond pregnant woman in tall suede boots and a fuchsia halter dress browsed through the gold hoops. With one gloved finger, he pointed at her. “Childbirth. Fairly certain that hurts worse.”

“I’m fifteen.” My turn to eye roll. “Something a little more relative? Not so obviously inappropriate?” I got ready to leave.

He pointed down at his black flip-flops. “See my big toes?”

My glance went downward and I flinched. His toes were big and callousy with yellowish nails. Easily the ugliest toes I’d ever seen.


Green Mohawk Dude said, “Last year I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Coming down, my toes got smashed into the front of my boots. Ended up losing both my big toenails. Took them eleven months to grow back.”

I asked, “And that hurt worse than getting your nose pierced?”

“Guess so.” He shrugged. “Now, can we do this?”

Nodding, I closed my eyes as he shoved the needle through my skin.

A rush of stinging flooded up my nose. “Holy crap!” My eyes watered so bad I had to blink like crazy, then I finally gave up and kept them shut for a while. When I did open them again, first I glared at the green-haired liar standing in front of me, then looked in the mirror to check out the diamond adorning my nose. “Sweet.”

“No swimming in pools for a month. Even though they’re chlorinated, they could have germs. And lakes, rivers … avoid those. The ocean too. Just to be safe. You don’t want to get it infected.” He handed me a plastic baggie with alcohol swabs and Xeroxed instructions. “So now you can go back to the mainland with the new look you got in Honolulu.”

“Um, yeah,” I said, suddenly wondering just how much trouble I would be in when my parents saw my nose. “Actually, I don’t live on the mainland. I live the other direction, out on Midway Island.”

“Midway as in the Battle of Midway?”

I nodded.

His eyebrows went up and he nodded. “Very cool. You’re lucky.”


If I had a dollar for every time someone called me that, I’d be rich, because that’s all I heard when I told people about my life.

When I told them that I lived on a coral atoll in the middle of the Pacific:


When I told them that I didn’t go to a real school:


When I told them that I hung out among dolphins and monk seals and nesting albatross:


For three years, my parents had been research biologists on historic Midway, now a national wildlife refuge, so I lived there too, in the old admiral’s home called Midway House. Sure, there were cool things like having my own golf cart and making my own hours for home school and getting to hang out with National Geographic photographers. Plus the fact I knew more about ocean fish and seabirds than most postgraduate researchers.

Those things did make me feel lucky.

But then there were other things that did not make me feel so lucky.

Like having the Internet crap out for days at a time, and not even owning a cell phone because there was no reception, and getting only three television channels, one of which was CNN, none of which were MTV. What’s the point of even having television?

Not to mention being the only kid among fifty or so adults, which left me no one to talk to except for Facebook friends, and that was only when the Internet worked.

Lately it seemed there were a lot more days when my life felt less like luck and way more like suck.

I paid Green Mohawk Dude, tipped him a little, and then headed back for AJ’s apartment.

What saved me from going crazy most of the time was Dad’s sister, my aunt Jillian, who lived in Honolulu. AJ, as I called her, had a place right on Waikiki Beach and was a consultant, which meant she got to do all her work from home. She was way younger than Dad, only about thirty, and when I couldn’t take the isolation anymore, my parents would throw me on the supply flight returning to Honolulu from Midway and send me to her. And that’s where I had been spending the month of June.

When I walked in, AJ was on the phone. Her long brown hair was up in a clip and she had a plumeria-laden cover-up on over her red bikini. AJ’s eyes widened when she saw my nose, then she gave me a thumbs-up. As soon as she hung up, she came over and grabbed my chin, eyeing my new piercing. “Let me see this diamond I paid for.” She grinned. “Your parents are never going to let you come here again.”

I tossed my green crocheted purse on the table. “I’m getting my suit on.”

*   *   *

AJ spent every day sitting by the pool with me, although she did try to get me to branch out. She called through the bathroom door: “Can’t we do the beach today, Robie? We can get a good spot by the Hilton.”

“Nope.” I put on my purple cheetah bikini. “Two words. Sand and waves.”

She laughed. “For someone who lives on an island, you are the most ocean-aversive person I’ve ever met.”

“I love the ocean!” I protested, as I opened the door.

AJ groaned. “You just don’t like to touch it.”

“Exactly. I just like to look.” I pointed at my nose. “Plus I have instructions not to go in the water.”

She shook her head. “Finally, your perfect excuse to not get wet.”

We went down to the pool. Wearing my contented smile, I leaned back on my pool chair and turned on my e-reader to Stephen King’s newest, which I was almost done with. There was absolutely nowhere else I would rather be at that moment. “Now, this is the life.”

She asked, “So what shall we do tonight?”

Every evening we headed off to do something, like see a movie or get pedicures at Ala Moana Center. My toes currently sported bright orange polish, rhinestone flowers on both big toes. One night my aunt surprised me by having a friend of hers come and give me cornrows. My dirty-blond hair was almost to my waist, so it took forever. When she finished, I looked in the mirror and tried not to show my shock. With my tan, the cornrows looked a little tacky. And I didn’t look anything like myself. But I didn’t want to make AJ feel bad, so I lied and said I loved them. My dad would like them, so I planned on keeping them until I got back to Midway, just so he could see. Plus it was kind of fun to walk around, feeling unrecognizable.

AJ waited for me to answer about tonight.

“International Market Place?” I suggested.

“Sure. Cheesecake Factory after?”


That evening at the International Market Place, a collection of booths and shops selling anything and everything, I found a henna tattoo stand where a pretty Hawaiian lady, dark hair to her waist and three rings in her nose, beckoned to me.

I wanted a real tattoo, but my parents were already going to freak over my nose. AJ had signed the permission form only after I promised to take all the blame. That’s how deep her coolness went. She had even sprung for the diamond, which, even she admitted, totally rocked. So, given I’d already used up my quota of quasi-permanent bodily changes my parents would dislike, I started to look through the book of henna tattoo samples.

AJ tapped me on the arm. “I’m going to be right over there by those shell planters.”

The tattoo lady asked, “You want your aumakua?”

“What’s that?”

“Your ancestral guide. The spirit that protects your ohana. Your family, yeah?”

“I’m not Hawaiian.”

The tattoo lady smiled. “Mine is the honu.” She pointed to a picture of a sea turtle.

“I love green sea turtles.” I sat down on the wooden chair and propped my foot up on a stool.

With a little plastic bottle, she squeezed the brown henna out like she was painting, and it tickled my ankle. The henna turtle looked like brown mud when she finished. “It will dry, but leave it on, yeah?” She handed me a little baggie with a cotton ball inside. “It’s soaked in lemon juice. Squeeze this on several times and the henna will last longer.”

I handed her three wrinkled fives and went to find AJ.

There was a huge line outside the Cheesecake Factory, but I made my way through the crowd and inside the noisy restaurant where AJ was already at a table. We shared a slice of turtle cheesecake. AJ had just gotten a refill of decaf when her phone rang.

She glanced at her phone. “Barney.”

Even I knew Barney was the guy who gave her the most consulting work. AJ always took his calls. “Hey, Barn.”

I leaned down and touched my tattoo. The henna was stiff and felt like it was drying out my skin.

Back above the table, AJ’s eyes narrowed as she listened for a while. “Seriously?” She listened a little more and rolled her eyes. “No. No, that’s fine. I’ll come tomorrow.” She hung up and put a hand on mine. “I am so sorry, Robie. I’ve got to go to LA tomorrow.”

“That sucks.” I wasn’t looking forward to cutting short my trip and going back to Midway. But I saw her face and added, “It’s only a week short, I was going back next week anyway.” I took a sip of my Coke.

The waitress brought the bill and AJ got out her reading glasses. “You don’t have to go back.” She leaned forward like she was going to tell me a secret. “Bobbi can stay with you.”

Stifling a groan, I faked a smile.

Bobbi was a friend of AJ’s who lived on the other side of Oahu. We’d been up to see her a couple times at her beach house, which was always messy and full of smelly cats. Bobbi was old, like fifty, and had thick, waist-length dreadlocks and really tan, leathery-looking skin. She didn’t believe in bras. Or deodorant.

“No, that’s okay. I can go back to Midway.” I paused. “Or … I could just stay at your place by myself.”

She started to shake her head and protest, but I cut her off. “AJ, I’m almost sixteen.”

AJ huffed out her nose. “Robie. You are not almost sixteen. You’ve only been fifteen for two months.”

I shrugged. “Still, you have security up the ying-yang at your place, I know my way around…”

She looked at me over the top of her black cat-eye reading glasses. “Your parents would kill me.”

“We won’t tell them?”

AJ tapped the pen on the bill for a moment, and then pointed it at me. “Only if Bobbi stops in every day after work.”

Ew. “Every other day.”

Her voice was firm. “Every day.”

“Fine.” I held out my hand and we shook.

The next morning, after about an hour of instructions, admonitions, and warnings, AJ left for the airport. I was just getting ready for the pool when the phone rang. Bobbi said, “Hi, Robie. Jillian fly out yet?”

Technically not, since she was probably still sitting at the airport. “No.”

“I can’t talk, but can you give her a message for me?”


Bobbi’s words were rushed. “I’m not gonna be able to stop in like she asked me to. My car died and I have to carpool with a guy from up here.”

“That’s okay.” I smiled as I noticed AJ had left me a small fortune’s worth of bills on the counter.

“Can she get someone else to check in on you?”

“Yes. Definitely. Don’t worry about it.”

I hung up. I was free for a week. Although I did already miss AJ, I did a little dance.



Copyright © 2012 by S. A. Bodeen

Reading Group Guide

1. Before she boards the plane home to Midway, Robie has a frightening encounter with a stranger in

Hawaii. Why do you think the author included this scene?

2. What do you think is the biggest challenge to Robie when she's on the raft? (Food? Water? Boredom? Sharks?) How does her knowledge of nature help her deal with these challenges?

3. If you were stranded on a raft in the middle of the Pacific with one pack of Skittles, do you think you'd eat them in one sitting or save them? How long do you think you could make them last?

4. Discuss the pros and cons of Robie's final encounter with Starbuck. Do you agree with her decision?

5. How do you think Max's necklace ends up with Robie at the end?

Customer Reviews

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The Raft 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 111 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The raft is full of emotion. I felt sucked into the emotional rollercoaster. I felt joy at her successes and raw in the disparaging moments. The end is where I felt the most raw. It's a compelling story of a girls struggles and how she overcomes them. This is a great story for ages 12 and up. She is 15. It really is an emotional journey. I can only give this advice, while reading this book, the reader is under deress and therefore is not responsible for their emotions.
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
The Raft was such a fast read. I was gobbling up the book and finished it in one sitting. While I was on a 7 hour airplane ride. Now I only mentioned where I read this book because The Raft is about an airplane ride gone wrong. The airplane crashes and the main protagonist ends up having to survive using only a raft and Max. So imagine how my nerves were every time we hit turbulence; my stomach would drop down to my feet. However I believe that actually made me enjoy the book even more! Robie always takes flights from where she lives to Honolulu whenever she feels like taking a break from her town and visiting her aunt. However due to some circumstances, her aunt had to leave and Robie stayed home alone at her aunt's house with the condition that her aunt's friend would check on her everyday, but what are the odds when the friend calls AFTER the aunt leaves and tells Robie she can't come and to tell her aunt that she's sorry. Of course Robie wanting to experience freedom says thank you to the friend and never mentions it to her aunt. One night Robie almost got robbed at night and was so scared that she went to the cargo airplane that was about to take off and asked if she can ride this flight. However when the air turbulence got so bad to the point of crashing, the co-pilot Max, throws Robie off the airplane and into an inflatable raft and jumps after her. This is when the survival lessons begin. I am always fascinated by the survival stories. How can a person survive through days without water? or alone in a place no one will find you without losing your mind? How can a sheltered girl somehow becomes strong in thinking and skills when it is required? Our bodies seem to always surprise and exceed the limitations we put on them during these times, and our brains also seem to know how to act in such situations. Robie is an example of that. She took care of Max, he was always asleep because of his concussion, she learnt quickly how to get food, water, to keep her mind busy before she lost it and to never lose hope. From time to time Max would wake up and talk about himself, which seems to be the only connection she had to human life. She was a true survivor. The way S.A. Bodeen wrote The Raft with just one setting, one person, and barely another conscious one was just addicting. When I first started The Raft I had my reservations: How can I read about one person thinking throughout the whole book in one setting without much interaction? let me just say again that I could NOT put the book down no matter how sleepy I got. It was pure enthrallment. As for the ending, boy was that an emotional ending, you might think this is a simple survival novel, but what S.A. Bodeen through at the end totally shocked me and had me shouting "WOW! Genius!!". I will not post any spoilers in case you want to read it. The Raft was another amazing survival novel that strengthened my love for survival novels even more! With so little to work with, I mean it is set in a RAFT, S.A. Bodeen knew how to keep the readers hooked and unable to stop her novel till the end!
ForThisMoment More than 1 year ago
This book is an emotional roller coaster for the reader. Robie is involved in a cargo plane crash and survives, along with the co-pilot Max. This whole book reminded me of an episode of the Animal Planet show: I Shouldn't Be Alive. There were many parts of this book were Robie was close to dying. Robie is only a 15 year old girl: she is incredibly resourceful in this novel and really has to rely on herself. This book confused me greatly because it is told in a first person narrative from Robie. As the reader, we do not know if many of the things that happen are real or if Robie is imagining them. The ending is somewhat of a cliffhanger depending on how you look at it. This book is definitely worth the read. It is highly emotional and gave me many cases of goosebumps. It is light in pages, but it is a thought provoking read.
Tina_Chan More than 1 year ago
Title: The Raft Author: S.A. Bodeen Genre: YA survival The Raft is both a gruesome, stark and poetic novel at the same time. Told from the point of view of a Robbie, a teenage girl that survives a plane crash, this survival story is sure to send chills down your spine and keep you flipping the pages as fast as possible  (or at least that’s what I did). Robbie is taking a quick flight from Honolulu to Midway Atoll, where her family lives. She’s taken the flight several times, but this time  there is a new copilot, named Max, on board with her as well. When the plan goes down in the middle of the night, Robbie’s life  becomes a living nightmare.  Max pushes Robbie out of the plane and follows after her minutes before the plane hits the ocean. With nothing but a leaky lifeboat, a  bag of skittles and an almost-useless-but-not-quite Coastal Commander kit between the two of them, things quickly go from bad to worse. After several days without food or water, Robbie finds herself becoming more and more delirious. Max has barely spoken at all, so Robbie starts talking to herself. Eventually, because the raft is still leaking, Robbie is forced to lessen the weight the raft is bearing to slow down the rate of the water leaking through. She puts Max (who is unconscious) in a life vest and pushes him out of the raft, making sure there is a rope securely attached from his life vest to the raft. I’m not going to say anymore about this matter except that things start to get creepy from this point  on. After a week or so at sea, Robbie finally lucks out and stumbles onto a small island. Although she no longer has to worry about sharks in the water, Robbie must test her survival skills to their limit. She needs food, water and most importantly, rescue. Max isn’t much help at this point and Robbie is extremely weak as well.  On the island, Robbie quickly learns that death is part of life, and it isn’t always pretty. Robbie also learns that sometimes by  “helping” out a situation, you’re actually making it worse. Seriously *********spoiler alert********* I almost cried when Robbie thought she was saving the baby seal when in reality she was killing it. Although the details of the novel were vivid and at times gruesome, the writing is also poetic. In fact, I feel like some of the shorter chapters could stand as a poem on their own. Most of the novel is still written in standard novel format, but the scattered poetic writing pieces found throughout the book really enhances the story. One thing I must say though: I was NOT prepared for the ending at all. I had to reread the last few pages to make sure I’d read it right. Bodeen creates some serious twist and turns in the plot. I got some serious chills and shivers after finishing the book. Warning: this is not a book for the faint hearted! Likes: *the poetic writing was flawlessly combined with the narrative writing • the chapters were short but action packed • the author doesn’t shy away from vivid details Dislikes: *I got a bit mad with Robbie at some points throughout the book; I mean, she was kind of selfish when she stole  food from Mac (though given the circumstances, I probably would’ve done the same)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book makes you think. What would happen if I didn't have anything and was stranded on an island... What Robie experiences is amazing. The story is extremly well written and I couldn't put the book down. I would reccomend this to any adventurous reader out there :) ---- reviewed by a middle school girl
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed.reading this book. I think it is one of my favorites. I loved how robbie ( main character) is very brave she is very determineated to make it on her own. I dont want to give away spoilers if you are reading this before reading the RAFT. I have read this book two times, it never gets old! I really like the part when she is making it all alone stranded on the island. You will see when you read the book. Trust me you wont want to put it down. In this action. Suspensful,and, worrieng boo.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a bad read. It was an easy book to get in to and it wasnt as boring as i thought it was going to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Raft is about a girl named Robie ends up in a plane crash with a new vo pilot shes never seen before. They soon have nothing t eat and the only thing they can dtink is rain. Soon Robie is alone on an island and has to survive. The raft has been torn up and theres no help on the way. Raft is an awsome book for all ages
Love2Read-N-Texas More than 1 year ago
This book was purchased as a group reading (of 4) in my daughter's freshman high school English class. She was in awe of it. She loved the dynamic ending and was totally surprised how it ended. A great read for Teens!! Similar ways to the sixth sense movie. :):)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. There were surprises at every end and you never predicted the ending. I loved how you felt her emotions. Its a great book and as i said before I loved it and so did my friends.
Anonymous 19 days ago
great read! kept me in suspense
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bookswithbite on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An amazing book from start to finish, I loved it. So many emotions of fear, uncertainty, guilt, etc flowing through the reader. What I enjoyed most about this book is the great plot line of being out on sea, ALL ALONE. No food, no water, no cell phone, no ONE! And the worst part, the thought that you could possibly die a slow death if no one finds you. I admit that, that thought right there makes me shiver. I think I'd go crazy or worse kill myself so that I don't have to do it slowly. How Robie manged to endure all this terror is beyond me.There's no love interest but there is a great friendship. Being out there with one other person to share the stress that you are going through is helpful. Max is great at keeping Robie calm as well as sane. There are times where she wants to break down, then Max comes in, bringing her back to the surface.There is an awesome twist in the end. It made me smile. I had no seen that last bit coming and have to admit that the author did a great job, investing in the reader in the character.The Raft is an brutal, emotional story that steals the reader away. Skillfully blended emotions, allow the reader to fully put themselves in Robie's shoes. An enjoyable moving story, The Raft is highly recommended!
JanaRose1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After spending time with her aunt in Hawaii, Robie decides to catch an earlier flight home to Midway. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to get a hold of her parents to let them know she was on her way. The flight begins smoothly, but soon encounters turbulence. The engine dies and the plane crashes into the water. Max, the co-pilot, throws her out of the plane and helps her onto a life raft.I thought that this book was wonderful. It was engaging and very hard to put down. The crash scene was particularly well written as well as scenes dealing with Robie's emotions. I really felt for Robie as she encountered one struggle after another. I think this book is good for many ages, particularly teenagers. Overall, I thought this was a home run.
AubreyKesl More than 1 year ago
The Raft by S.A. Bodeen was a thrilling novel that kept you on the edge of your seat with every page. I loved this novel because it was very detailed and realistic for the situation the character went through. It also included many interesting plot twists, which kept the book intriguing and made it an enjoyable read. The book starts off when the main character Robie visits her aunt, but suddenly wants to return home. Without thinking, she takes the next flight, and the plane crashes and leaves her stranded in the middle of the ocean with the co-pilot Max. She has no water, and the only source of food she has is a bag of Skittles. She also has no prior experience and finds herself almost clueless on how she can survive. The only resource she has is a pamphlet she found inside of Max’s pocket. She finds herself faced with shark infested waters and lost in the middle of the vast ocean. Robie has to learn to be independent and survive on her own. Throughout the novel she endures many struggles and loses hope of survival. But she also discovers a lot about herself and what she is capable of. She also learns to be thankful for what she has because in any moment she could lose it all. I loved this novel because it was very realistic. For example, in many novels based on survival, the main character has some kind of experience and is able to get through many of the struggles faced with ease. But Robie struggles to do many tasks because she has never been faced with a situation like this before. I thought this just made the book better and more interesting because the main character had to go through a lot more difficulties. I thought that this novel not only included intriguing content and details, but also a lesson. Throughout the novel Robie becomes more aware of what she has in her life. For what feels countless days lost at sea, she realizes how much she has in her life and learns to be very thankful. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a story that is filled with suspense and adventure. Overall I think that this was a great book and I would recommend reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Button smash
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cant get enough. So amazing! I have read this book about 13 times!!!! The hallucinations were confusing though and also i wonder if max is still alive because of the thumbprint being warm
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVED the end. It made me cry and it was perfect. The book was not too long and not too short. EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT!!!!!!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The raft is a thrilling book it made filled with joy when the character completed something. It’s very emotional it’s like you feel what’s going on to the character which makes it even better. it’s filled with suspense I recommend it to anybody manly at the ages of 11 to 40.I enjoyed the book I hope you will too i hope you enjoy the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome i love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Robie has always told herself something worse than the situation she is in but when she is stranded in with no food or fresh water nothing gets worse. Though the plot was ok it feels like S.A. Bodeen was in a writers funk and decided to write anyway with unexplaned halusitations and dumb, selfish maincharacter i wouldnt suggest this book to someone who is looking for a great read. Please comment on what other books you want me to do. Love reveiw girl