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March 23, 2021

Raft of Stars by Andrew J. Graff ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"He closed his eyes and opened them.  Forget it, he told himself.  At least for now.  That's something his mother used to tell him when he couldn't sleep and worried about not sleeping.  'You have permission to forget it', she'd tell him.  'Just for a minute, just enjoy your pillow, just rest, let it go.  Close your eyes and sail away from troubles on a raft made of stars.' " (p 136)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Raft of Stars
March 2021; 978-0063031906; Ecco
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); literary fiction
Raft of Stars
 is a book that I'd have never picked up -- a coming-of-age story about boys!  Really?  I won a copy from Book Browse and knew I had to give it a chance.  Wow - am I ever glad that I did.  This debut novel was fantastic -- it not only featured the two young boys but also the adults in their lives.  I laughed with the two boys and at times their friendship and honesty with each other made me cry.  This is a book that I won't soon forget.

It's 1994 in a small town in Wisconsin.  Fish has spent the summer with his grandfather ever since his father died three years ago.  His best friend Bread lives with an extremely abusive father who constantly terrorizes him.  These ten-year-old boys became best friends as soon as they met and they spend their summer in the woods, playing games and making up stories for their enjoyment.  Until the summer night that Fish sees Bread's father hitting him and Fish grabs a gun and shoots him.  The two boys believe that they are murderers and head off into the woods to get as far away as possible.  They make it to the river, make a raft, and set out on their adventure to escape.  They are being tracked by four adults who want to help them - Fish’s mother Miranda, a wise woman full of fierce faith; his granddad, Teddy, who knows the woods like the back of his hand; Tiffany, a purple-haired gas station attendant and poet looking for connection; and Sheriff Cal, who’s having doubts about a life in law enforcement.  The time the boys spend on the river is full of perilous situations that had this reader quickly turning pages to find out the outcome.

This book is more than a simple coming of age novel.  It's a story about the bonds of friendship and the lengths that people will go through to help the people that they love - whether they are family by blood or family by friendship.  This was a fantastic novel and I am looking forward to the next novel by this author.

Buy Raft of Stars at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter

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  1. It's a novel I wouldn't have considered if I hadn't read your review, but you convinced me, thanks :)

    1. It's not a book that I'd have picked up but I'm so glad that I won a copy. It was terrific.