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This is a psychological adventure along the lines of Life of Pi, without the wild animals. Like Pi, the majority of this story takes place in a boat that, as the title suggests, is drifting somewhere off the Atlantic coast of the northern USA. Inside the boat are five diverse teenagers. Matt is the main character and he is spending the summer with his best friend John before heading off to college/university. Matt and John share a wretched secret, as well as an upbringing in middle-class New York. When they meet Dri, Matt falls instantly in love with her.
Dri is rich and living a lifestyle unknown to these boys. Dri, her friends and her lifestyle entrance Matt, whilst John is sceptical from the start. When Dri’s cousin makes an impetuous decision to go windsurfing at midnight, it leads to an ill-fated rescue attempt that leaves these four, plus the South American boyfriend of the windsurfing cousin, in a small boat, adrift on the Atlantic Ocean.
The mix of culture and background, plus virtual inexperience of these teenagers creates the atmosphere for the story to unfold. At sea, they face starvation, thirst, madness and death; they are forced to dig deep to survive. Past experiences hover like the dark clouds building on the horizon.
This is a story about teenagers coming of age; of chasing demons away. It is fast-paced and although I think the way they end up in the boat is a little contrived, it is completely believable. And to be honest, you really are hanging on to the last moments to find out how it ends. I imagine this will appeal to young readers of both gender.
Reviewed by Gillian Torckler
by Paul Griffin
Published by Text Publishing