The Raft Letter Essay 9 By Tyler Petrino

Dear classmates,

The Raft by S. A. Bodeen is the story of Max and Robie and their survival at sea. The author creates suspense in his description of the scenes as both of them survive the crash and overcome many obstacles including a short supply of water and food at sea. When they crash… Max helps get Robie out of the water and into the raft. While Max sleeps, Robie left to fend for herself. She reads through an instruction card from Max’s supply bag on what to do in the event of crashing at sea. Robie must contend with hunger, thirst, and the elements, while realizing that her name wasn’t on the plane manifest and no one knows to come look for her. When the raft begins to take in water, Robie must face her fears of water and sharks to repair the raft. She’s able to drink some rain water and catch a fish for some sustenance. Adrift at sea, Robie continues to fend for herself while Max remains unconscious. Days go by.

The suspense starts right from the beginning of the novel when the plane loses an engine and heads toward the ocean below. Even though I have read this book I really enjoy it. This year In ILA I was told in the start of the year to come up with a goal to succeed the 40 book challenge. Well I failed that I only ended up reading around 30 books. Throughout ILA this year I have learned so much.


One day, Robie is on a flight home from Hawaii and her G-1 plane, co- piloted by Max, experiences problems. “The plane shudders and bumps below Robie and a large lurch shoves her stomach up into her throat (22).” “Out the window there are]occasional flashes of lighting, [as the plane] constantly lurch[es] in the dark, it is as if she is in a car sliding on ice”. Then the sound of the engines gets louder. This scene shows the character of robbie, she is just some normal girl who is very worried. Well throughout the story she changes a lot.

This is very effective word choice because it creates suspense and makes the reader wonder if Robbie is dead or hanging on for her life.  The author creates further suspense when the raft is floating at sea and water starts to come into the raft. Robie and Max decide they need to flip the raft over in order to get the rising water out before they sink.  Just as they tip the raft on its side “A gust of wind [catches] hold, rolling the raft end over end, like a coin on a floor, away from [them] (95).” This is very suspenseful because the reader does not know if the raft blows away, stranding them in the middle of the ocean or if they are able to get back into the raft and fix the hole.


The author has created a lot of suspenseful moments throughout the book using descriptive scenes and the reader never knows if Robie and Max will survive until the end of the story.  Suspense makes a book more interesting to read and the uncertainty of the ending makes it more exciting.

If I were to rate this book I would give it a 9 out of 10. From start to finish this book was a heart pumper, because of the crazy parts in the book that describe the situation they are in.

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