“Raft of Stars” by Andrew J. Graff was a heart-pounding thriller about two 11-year-old boys, Fish and Bread, running from the scene of a crime. When the town sheriff, Cal finds the body of Bread’s father, he goes off with Teddy, Fish’s grandfather on horseback through the deep woods to try to find the boys. Later, Miranda, Fish’s mom, full of faith, and Tiffany, a purple-haired poet from town join the search.
The book recounts the journey through the woods, as the boys are chased by bears, find an old poacher’s camp, and make their own raft to float down the river. But what the young boys don’t know is that the river rapids end in a gorge with a perilous drop off before the nearby armory. The search party needs to find them before the river or the wildlife get the best of the young duo.
Besides the non-stop action, other parts of the book that I appreciated was the spirituality of Miranda, a Pentecostal spirit-filled woman, with a mama bear mentality about her “baby.” It is uncommon for writers to get an accurate portrayal of spiritual characters in books, especially Christians. A lot of times because of their own experiences or negative connotations of Christians, a “spiritual” person in a story is either seen as a hypocrite that changes their beliefs when things go awry, or as “hyper” spiritual people who come off as whack jobs. Graff’s portrayal is one of the most accurate I can ever remember of a person who has faith, and is led by that conviction, but is also a “real” character that is believable. In this case, Miranda is a mom with a son who is on the run and is in real danger. At times she is afraid and desperate, but also has a firm faith that she knows God will protect her son through the ordeal. She is both active and prayerful as she seeks reunion with her son. Her character is not a central one in the story so maybe I’ve devoted too much ink to her in this review, but I did appreciate this aspect of the book, even though her beliefs may not be “mainstream” in the Christian church.
Overall, this was an entertaining book with some good character development. The story was thrilling and enthralling. There were several compelling aspects of it that keeps the reader engaged throughout.