Six students at a San Francisco middle school for misfits become an unlikely crew of seafarers after a disaster.
The adventure begins on a field trip to a historic ship called the Defiant. The sky lights up with lightning bolts and a flash of pink, destroying San Francisco as we know it. This seemingly supernatural event sends the students, sans adults, to sea. Gabriel, who lives in a group home, and Esme, who has been living with a neglectful aunt, become de facto group leaders, but as the group learns to fish, sail, stand lookout, and otherwise take care of one another, a palpable sense of family develops. Their journey brings them into contact with several other newly formed groups of kids (whatever the pink flashes were, no adults survived them) ranging in character from an exaggeratedly egalitarian society that would starve before ending a meeting to a group of science award–winners who would rather communicate on Bluetooth-like devices than talk face to face. The pink flashes are never explained, and the ending offers only a little resolution, but the heart of the story is the crew, a diverse group whose interactions and dialogue are sharply insightful and often comic, each of whom grows up appreciably as the story unfolds.
A quirky, fast-moving sea odyssey with a diverse and well-realized cast. (Fiction. 10-14)