Matt and John have been through so much together, it’s a wonder they aren’t actually brothers. Yet after a turbulent and tragic four years, their lives have finally begun to settle and they begin preparations for life after high school. The New York born boys set their eyes on Montauk for the summer, selling ice creams along the beach to local kids – saving money for tuition. Then they meet Driana, Jojo, and Stef: three rich Brazilian kids spending the summer in the Hamptons.

Matt -utterly smitten with Driana- convinces John to go with him to a party Driana is throwing at her father’s summer home in the Hamptons. After the police break up the party in response to a fight, Driana’s cousin Stef does the unthinkable: she heads out to windsurf in the middle of the night and a storm is brewing. Determined to rescue her from the coming danger, Matt, John, Jojo, and Driana pile into a small boat and head out to bring her back to shore. Matt, telling the story from a perspective of somber hindsight warns the reader, “not all of us came back whole, and not all of us came back”.

Adrift is author Paul Griffin‘s sixth novel and it reads with the fluidity and ease marking a seasoned writer. The story unfolds in a predictable but tense way. The lost-at-sea tale is one that has been written several times over, and is typically an examination of human nature and strength of will. The story is predictable because we know it will have an unhappy ending yet tense because we aren’t ready for the inevitable. We don’t want it to happen. Yet Griffin’s style eases the reader into the certain destruction of his characters – a spoon full of sugar and all that.

The novel is compelling largely because the honesty of the writing contrasts with that of the characters. All five go out to sea strangers with no real need to confess their life stories or their greatest pains with one another. By the closing chapters, however the characters are forced by circumstance to tell each other truths that if kept quiet, would only put them in further danger. The authentic quality of the text is marked by its simplicity; Griffin doesn’t over share. He puts these kids in an impossible situation and pulls them out of it while maintaining a feel of fullness. The reader cannot help but be satisfied with the impending unhappy ending and the discomfort that will come with it. Readers who enjoy realistic fiction that stays true to form will find themselves absorbed in Adrift and won’t be left wanting when the novel comes to its close.

  •  Posted by Nailah

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