Cover Image: Raft of Stars

Raft of Stars

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Member Reviews

This novel is primarily about two boys who are running away because of a crime they committed. It is also about their coming of age and the lives of those searching for them.

Fish and Bread are nicknames for two friends who live in Wisconsin.  Bread's father is a brutal man who abuses Bread.  One night Fish shoots Bread's father and the boys decide they have to run away.

The novel deals with their adventures, bonding and the struggles they encounter.  It also deals with the adults who search for them and their hopes, dreams and love.  

I felt that the book would be more interesting for an adolescent reader than it was for me.  I could raise interest for the adventures of pre-adolescent boys only up to a point.  The character development of the adults was not deep enough to satisfy me.  Overall, this seemed more like a YA novel and I believe it would be appreciated more by teens than adults.
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I commend the author for creating such a heartfelt, yet masculine and layered piece. All of the characters felt very real and, although each had their own set of problems, I never felt overwhelmed. The plot flowed nicely and the synergy between characters brought the story to vivid life. I imagined this story as a modern Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, but with deeper issues and important awareness. The characters, particularly the boys, brought a sense of energy that I have not felt from a novel character in some time. As I reader, I wanted to be right there in the action and often, I felt as if I were. Great work.
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Raft of Stars tells a story about people growing and developing relationships in a small town in a forested area. The book focuses on the adventures of two boys who are running away. Other characters move around them, including a grandfather who fought in the War in Vietnam, the local Sheriff who doesn't fit well into his current life., a young woman looking for connections, and a ferocious mother. The boys are facing a danger they don't know about the connections are developed among the people who are fighting to say them.

The book keeps one's interest and shows development and connections among humans with good motives and a commitment to family and friends. The natural world plays a big role, bringing in mystery and danger. It shows different ways that humans challenge the nature world, and how we can rely on each other to get us through the dangers. There is some exaggeration of qualities that adds a comic component.
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This unevenly written debut had me hooked in the first few chapters, then lost me, then pulled me back in, and on it went this way throughout the book. Some of the dialogue felt forced, and in places I had a hard time believing the boys were only 10 because they spoke and thought and acted much older. However, some of the other characterizations were pretty cliched, which made it hard to connect with them in any way, and I found myself wanting more of the boys stories and less of the adults. Overall, a disappointing read.
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I really loved this coming of age story of two young boys in Wisconsin. It reminded me of When the forest meets the stars which I loved. 
It is just an exceptionally well written book with characters you feel empathy for.
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Well written coming of age novel, of two young boys, one from an abusive home, who believe they committed a crime and run away. The friendship of the boys, the Sheriff and others who helped search for the boys, their backgrounds were fleshed out and had real dimension to them. The descriptions of the woods, the river, building a raft, a huge storm, were all believable. I could feel the bugs and mud, the rushing water, the fears of all who didn’t know if there would be a rescue or a recovery. It was an exciting and anxiety-provoking story, and kudos to the author for creating a very realistic scenario and background. If you enjoy nature in its calm and at it’s wildest, and how people react to life-threatening situations, you will like this book. Highly recommend! Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Beautifully written book. With a sad subject. Two boys on the run after a turn of events . The author does a good job of giving a voice to the children in the book!
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Good stuff. Enjoyed the well written characters and engaging plot. The author has a good imagination and writes very well. I look forward to his next book

I really appreciate the ARC for review!!
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Raft of Stars is a coming-of-age story set in the backwoods of northern Wisconsin. The story focuses on two ten-year-old boys: Fischer "Fish" Branson, visiting his grandfather in Claypot, Wisconsin for the summer, and his friend Dale "Bread" Breadwin.

Bread comes from an abusive home and lives in fear of his alcoholic father. Fish walks in on an exceptionally brutal encounter one afternoon, grabs a gun, and pulls the trigger. Suddenly, Fish and Bread find themselves fleeing into the Wisconsin woods with few supplies. Perused separately by Fish's grandfather with the sheriff, and his mother with Tiffany, a gas station clerk from town, the boys find themselves facing nature, the unknown, their conscience, and each other.

Going into this one, I was hesitant because of the age of the main protagonists. In my experience, authors tend to either write children exceptionally well or exceptionally poorly - there's very little in between. Andrew J. Graff is one of those authors who does an exceptional job capturing the voice of a child. Both Fish and Bread were believable characters with all the hopes and fears and sense of adventure that ten-year-old boys carry.

Graff does a nice job fleshing out the ensemble characters as well. Their motivations and backstories are elaborated upon throughout the story, and each one is given the opportunity to play to their strength and reveal their weakness.

Through language and imagery, the author is also able to make the Wisconsin forest, and the river flowing through it, characters in and of themselves. Nature, both flora and fauna, become an integral part of both the boys' journey and the story's climax.

Reminiscent of the journey in This Tender Land and the natural aspects of Where the Crawdads Sing, Raft of Stars is story that will take you on an adventure and show you how far best friends will go for each other.
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A great cast of characters. You will be charmed by Fish and his buddy Bread, Fish’s grandpa Ted and sweet Tiffany with the purple bangs. You will struggle with Cal has he falls deeper into the whiskey and you will be shocked and appalled by Bread’s dad and his treatment of his son.
A great rousing adventure taking you deep into the backwoods of Wisconsin.

The book gets off to a great start and then seems to bog down in the middle. I wanted more out of the characters, the adventure.
Too many separate struggles. You have the two boys, Tiffany and Miranda and Grandpa Ted and Cal. You really started losing me. Ambitious, could have been better, a near miss.
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC, the thoughts are my own and unsolicited.
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Partly an adventure story but mostly about the strongest bond friendship youth can develop, especially if one or more are learning to deal with adversity or an unhappy home life. The two friends in this novel quickly became real people to me (very well developed characters). I actually saw them and followed their actions in my mind as I was reading. Overall, this was a wonderful book about coming of age, the things that children bond over, and the power of helping someone else to change the life of an adult.
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