Friendships and faith are tested in Paul Griffin’s latest YA novel, Adrift. Told through the perspective of teen protagonist Matt Halloway, readers will become absorbed in this harrowing sea adventure as Matt and fellow friends fight for their physical and mental survival while they struggle to endure a terrifying 15 day journey lost at sea.
Introspective and insightful, readers learn about the teens’ strength and rationality while lost in the Atlantic, and also about a fateful tragedy that proceeded the unexpected sojourn.
The first four chapters are a bit slow as the author introduces the characters and sets the stage for the coming calamity. The conversations between characters are somewhat choppy, but as the reader becomes acquainted with the author’s writing style, the characters’ dialogue will become less difficult to discern. What the author lacks in verbal exchange he more than makes up for in the intense illustration of the character dynamics and their flavorful personalities.
As the tag line states, “Five of us went out on the water that night. None of us came back whole, and not all of us came back.” This isn’t a happy ending, and some readers may not be satisfied with it, but those that really understood the author’s approach and intent will be more than appeased that the conclusion leaves some conjecture.
Adrift is more than intense days filled with sun-scorching heat, nights filled with brutal cold, and empty bellies that scream for food and water. It is about being human and staying humane, it is about remaining hopeful despite hellish encounters, and it is about holding on to the boat and to your sanity for dear life–ride it out and keep your head above water.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic
Profanity/Language: 16 religious exclamations.
Violence/Gore: Idle threats about 3x; mention of murdered parent about 3x; character sustains serious injuries in accident, somewhat graphic portrayal, blood and injury mentioned about 3x; secondhand report of child witnessing parent’s murder; report of gunshot injury; character succumbs and dies from previous injuries, grim description of decomposing body; secondhand report of threats made to a character that was bullying another character; somewhat descriptive extended scene (about 3 pages) character recounts being gunned down in a car while with parent and friend, mention of car crash and bullet injuries as well as death; implication that teen character wants revenge for parent’s murder; secondhand report of physical altercation between multiple people, punching, shoving, kicking; repulsive description of character’s infected sores (about 3x); character is of the opinion that he/she and fellow passengers should kill themselves (2x); character disturbingly tries to kill an animal for food, intense violent imagery; extended scene (about 3 pages) characters discuss murdering another character before he/she murders them; character threatens another character in defense of friend; character grabs, shakes, and shoves a character, hits another; implication that character committed suicide by letting animals attack him/her, non-graphic description of attack, blood mentioned; character punches another character; character admits to encouraging fellow character to give up an die before succumbing to infected wounds.
Sex/Nudity: Characters strip down to their underwear and huddle together for warmth; about 14 incidents of characters holding hands, kissing, and/or cuddling with one another; character implies they would like to be intimate with another character, non-graphic.
Mature Subject Matter:
Survival, mental/emotional/physical trauma, mental instability, murder, death.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Report of parent being treated for alcohol poisoning several times and seeing counselor for alcohol abuse.