This actually wasn't half-bad. Sure I think it was better done in "Life of Pi", but I finished it on a 4-hour flight so hey, that's awesome!
Robie is staying with her Aunt "AJ" when AJ needs to leave for a "consulting" gig (what she consults, I never really knew). She was going to stay by herself, but a near miss with Random Dude in Honolulu scares her off and she heads home to the Midway Islands where her parents, research scientists, are staying. But she slips on the plane without anyone knowing (???), and then the plane comes crashing down. Now she must stay alive on a raft in the middle of the Pacific and hope that someone comes to find her - even though no one knows where she is.
This is basically a little bit of "Life of Pi" with a dash of "Gravity" thrown in. So basically, been-there, done-that, got the t-shirt - but at least it was interesting and defied some of the stereotypes I was sure that Bodeen would use.
Robie wasn't the most "likeable" of characters - certainly not like Pi Patel or Sandra Bullock's character in Gravity. (BTW, yeah, I get that "Gravity" had a lot of coincidences and goofiness, but I FREAKIN' LOVED IT SO STFU!!) However, I was impressed that she really took her survival in her own hands and DID something. She survived based on her wits and her knowledge of marine life, and that really made me respect her. She had her screamy, out of control moments, which were a bit annoying, but they didn't define her, they didn't hold her back and make her useless.
There is a "twist" of sorts in the book, which I pretty much guessed, but I still respected it.
[spoiler]Max is dead, but Robie is bringing him back for company, reading his journal and pretending he is there to support her.[/spoiler]
It would have been very easy to make this a "romance", but Bodeen didn't go there.
Also, throughout the book, Robie makes some tough choices. She is trying to survive, and some of her decisions are based on her need to stay alive and eat. This isn't the Hollywood, "Everyone is OK in the end" type of decision either, and I definitely respected Bodeen for "going there".
This wasn't the most earth-shattering, unique survival book out there, but it was smart enough, entertaining enough for me to finish in a 4 hour flight (less because I slept through part of the flight and finished WELL before we landed). I think older teens could appreciate it, and it sure gives you more to think about and ponder afterwards than far too many young adult (and adult!) novels.