I remember how my boys loved Gary Paulsen novels about adventures in the outdoors when they were in middle school/junior high. Raft of Stars by Andrew J. Graff is the adult version of that genre – a great book for spring and summer!
The plot centers around ten-year-old Fischer Branson and Dale Breadwin – one has a father who was killed while on deployment and the other has a dad who is just evil. The boys run away from their small Wisconsin town after a shooting at Dale’s home. Fischer’s grandfather, Teddy, knows the woods well and goes after the boys. He is accompanied by Sheriff Cal who is a big-hearted man, but knows nothing about tracking or surviving in a forest. Later, Fischer’s mom, Miranda, and a local woman, Tiffany, also set out to find the boys. Each group has its own journey – often harrowing, sometimes funny, with suspense and frustration built in as well.
Raft of Stars was a pleasure to read. I loved the descriptions of the river and the forest and also loved the relationships that developed in the short time frame the book covers. The mosquitoes and mud were described so realistically – as were the frustrations that different characters felt during their time in the forest. This is a terrific book for anyone who enjoys the outdoors and a little adventure in their reading!