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"She was the rarest of kids my age: comfortable in her own skin. At ease with her money but not afraid to make fun of herself for it. Being around that balance of confidence and humility lit me up. She was plain cool. She was perfect," Matt. –Adrift
by Paul Griffin
Matt went to the party to see a beautiful girl. He never expected that decision would alter his life forever. In a strange turn of events, Matt and John end up adrift in a boat with three rich kids. They assumed they would be rescued quickly. They assumed wrong.
Matt and John are used to banding together to help each other. By when five people are fighting for survival, it’s difficult to know how far each person will go to stay alive. When Matt begins to fall in love with Driana, conflict builds. The group needs to work together to stay alive, but growing mistrust makes that impossible. After all, no one wants to be the first to die.
Adrift is a gripping tale that will capture readers’ attention right from the start. Even though most of the action takes place on a boat in the open sea, there is plenty of suspense to keep the story interesting. The story doesn’t only focus on the struggle of being lost at sea, but sprinkles in mystery because something happened in the past—something bad—and that secret has shaped both Matt and John.
Besides being an entertaining story, Adrift is easy to read and shows the complicated nature of humans. Although the story explores the idea of killing a sick person to save oneself, in the end, the characters act with compassion. One positive aspect of this story is that characters show the importance of telling the truth—even if the truth is ugly.
- Matt and Driana kiss twice. The first time Driana, “kissed my eyes and then my lips . . . We kissed and kissed.” The second time Driana, “kissed me fast and then pulled away, and then she leaned in for a longer, harder one and lingered, and then she pushed away really hard. . .”
- One of the characters tries to hug a dolphin. “It bucked, and its tail kicked up into the Windsurfer. . . Maybe I only imagined the bones crack, but her arm from her elbow down was facing the wrong way, and a slick red bone tip pierced her skin. . . blood pulsed from the rip in her arm . . . ”
- John and Matt were told about a character whose, “mother was gunned down in front of her. . . A drug deal went bad and Stef’s mom was hit in the cross fire. . . Stef was holding her when she bled out. She was five years old, and she remembers it like it was yesterday.”
- Throughout the story, the death of John’s father, Mr. Costello, is talked about. In the beginning of the book, the reader gets snatches of information such as, “When his father’s blood spattered my face.”
- Several years before the story begins, John’s father is shot. The incident is described over several pages. Matt tells the story. He said, “It wasn’t the blood that freaked me out. . . Mr. Costello took all three bullets fired into the front seat. His body is pinned against the driver’s side door.”
- At a baseball game, there is a group of men who are spitting at the coach. “Mr. Costello helps him up. He drags him to the ball-field exit and throws him into the parking lot.”
- John tries to kill a baby porpoise, so they can eat it. John hits him with a harpoon, drags it onto the boat, and then hits it one the head with a hammer. “I heard a popping sound, and then another one when John swung the hammer into the porpoise’s temple. The porpoise writhed and bucked and flopped right out of the boat.”
- When a shark tries to eat one of the boys, John hits it with a hammer.
- One of the boys goes “out of his mind.” Dri is trying to comfort him when, “He screamed and flung her off. Her head smacked the bench cabinet. Blood drops hit the water on the deck and spread out like exploding red stars.” Matt steps in between the two and, “Drove the heels of my hands into JoJo’s chest. . . JoJo came back at me with a fist to my shoulder. The force of the punch tumbled into my spine, my legs. . . I hit the floor of the boat hard enough to see stars. . .”
- JoJo jumps into the open ocean and is eaten by sharks. “. . . a shark bit his shoulder and shook him to tear away the skin. He didn’t have time to scream before another shark clamped its mouth over his head.”
- John hits Matt. “When I turned back his fist smashed my face. Lights out.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- There are several detectives looking for the missing teens. A detective’s memo stated, “Also, Castello’s mother was hospitalized with alcohol poisoning. Apparently this wasn’t the first time.” Later Matt said, “After Mr. Costello was killed, she drank to the point she couldn’t work.”
- One of the characters takes drugs for his depression. “One is pink, the other yellow, another light blue.”
- Matt occasionally sees a ghost. “I meet him [the ghost] in my nightmare. He lay in the front seat of the car with his skull smashed in. Mr. Costello opened his eyes and cried blood tears. The ghost had never spoken to me before, but that morning he said, Matt, it’s time to wake up.”
- Matt says that Mr. Costello’s ghost is everywhere. “He looks so lost and sad. Like he wants to tell me something, but can’t talk because his neck is all blown out. His voice is gone.”
- At the end of the story, Matt says, “. . . sometimes Mr. Costello is there . . . Once in a while he follows me. He doesn’t mean any harm, and he isn’t bleeding anymore. The wounds are gone. He can talk now, but he doesn’t.”
- While looking at the sky, one of the characters says, “To get to see this? God loves us. Truly we are loved.”
- A character asks Matt if he is a believer, then goes on to say, “I believe God sent you both. You especially. . . You have a talent for remaining calm. This is the way God made you.”
- In a conversation, Matt is told, “God is watching out for us.” When Matt is asked if he believes, he replies, “Only when I’m taking a test I didn’t study for.”
- There are several references to God such as, “Thank God we have more money than they do.”
- One of the characters says, “The universe provides.” In response, John thinks, “For some people, the universe provides. The rest of us scramble.”