Monday, October 12, 2015

Book Review--Adrift by Paul Griffin

Last year, S.A. Bodeen's book The Raft, an Iowa Teen Award nominee, was one of the hottest titles in my library. Helped along with teacher read-alouds and student word-of-mouth, The Raft became a must-read in my library. For students who loved that book, now there is Paul Griffin's Adrift.

Friends Matt and John work the summertime crowds on the beaches at Montauk, NY, to earn extra money. As they work the crowds, the boys meet Driana, a local, wealthy girl, and her Brazilian cousin Estefania, and Estefania's boyfriend Joao. When Driana invites the boys to a house party, John is eager to attend; Matt, however, is less excited but agrees to go. At the end of the evening, Estefania heads out to sea to night surf. Disaster strikes, which brings the remaining four teens out onto the ocean in a less-than-ideal boat to help. Now, all five are adrift in the Atlantic Ocean without anyone else's knowledge and only their cumulative knowledge to keep them alive.

Author Griffin keeps the suspense high as injuries prove fatal, plans turn sour, and tensions swell. Readers learn that Matt and John share a violent secret that shapes more and more the interactions between them. The unlikely romance between Driana and John causes strain in the boat, and as their days at sea leave all of the teens hungry and thirsty, difficult decisions must be made. To compound the problems they already face, a tropical storm is bearing down on them.

Adrift is a story filled with uncertainties, friction, and secrecy. Fans of Bodeen's The Raft will find the scenes at sea reminiscent of Robie's days lost on the Pacific Ocean. But Adrift readers will get much more as they read to learn who will survive--both the time at sea and the secrets they all keep.