Two buddies who have been through trauma together before find themselves with three relative strangers out on the open Atlantic, where survival becomes extremely uncertain.
Matt and John work at a state park, where they meet the three, and are working-class in a way that the others don’t understand. Stolid John is mechanically minded and still suffers from the death of his father years earlier. Matt is determined to get into Yale and puts his energy toward saving and studying with that goal in mind. Dark, dreadlocked Driana is visiting the park with her cousin Estefania and Stef’s boyfriend, João. The latter two are from Rio de Janiero and have a carefree aura of entitlement—though Stef was adopted from the favelas by Driana’s uncle after her mother was gunned down in front of her. Griffin explores their individual psychologies and interactions with nuance. Stef has a reckless streak, and her sudden jaunt on a windsurfer leads the others into danger as they go to her aid with a small, open boat. With no radio or gear for the open sea, the craft offers little help for survival as hours, then days pass, the pressures mounting on each in ways designed to test their limits. While the danger is real, the book’s at its most riveting as the characters interact and implode.
This fast-paced survival adventure makes an excellent crucible for Griffin’s examination of class. (Adventure. 12-16)