Paul Griffin, Adrift, Text Publishing, 29 July 2015, 240pp., $19.99 (pbk), ISBN 978192524 016 0
Matt and John have been friends forever, and particularly close since a tragedy struck their families. When the boys are selling ice-creams at the beach at Long Island, they meet Jo-Jo and Steph from Rio, and Driana, three rich kids. The two kids from the wrong side of the tracks go to Steph’s party and what happens after that is what this book is about. The five teenagers find themselves adrift on the ocean, one severely injured, one – perhaps two – emotionally unstable, and two in love. They have almost nothing to save themselves but the stern will of the Iceman, John, and the hope which Driana maintains for them all. For fifteen days they catch rainwater and eat almost nothing. Both John and Matthew examine their own lives, and neither is happy about what they discover. Not all of them survive, and those who do are changed forever.
Griffin pulls no punches. The experience is described with honesty, even brutal honesty, and the outcome is not comfortable. The tension between the characters is palpable, and the nightmare of drifting in a hostile world is caught intensely. Adrift is not a book for the squeamish, but if you can stomach it, it’s an exciting read.
Reviewed by Stella Lees