Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Kathy Parks
Publisher: New York, HarperCollins
Denver Reynolds sneaks off to crash a party at a plush Malibu mansion that the popular clique at school has broken into. Before the night is over, she is almost kissed, survives a major earthquake, and is swept out to sea on the roof of the mansion with four members of the popular clique who hate her by a tsunami. The group of five manages to get into a drifting boat, which seems safer than the roof. Denver finds herself the outsider in this group. The friction continues even when her ideas of getting the boat, signaling for help, and catching a fish provide hope. Finally, as the weeks go on, attitudes are softened and they learn to appreciate one another. Denver’s former best friend is one of the group, but it takes the entire story for them to resolve their disagreement and forgive one another.
Parks writes a tale of survival and human relations that is engrossing and suspenseful. Part of the story happens in the present, where the group struggles to survive being adrift on the ocean, and part is told in flashback to events in the past that explain why the relationships are what they are in the present. The story is engaging and the reader is left wondering until nearly the end about why the former best friends are now enemies. There is also the suspense of whether or not the five will survive on the ocean with few supplies. The book is a good read, but does contain vulgar language, characters behaving badly to each other, teenagers consuming alcohol and talk of teenage sex. The first few chapters, before actually being on the boat, seemed to be the worst of it.
*Contains moderate language and mild sexual content.