Flotilla by Daniel Haight
In Flotilla, we meet Jim Westfield, who is 15 years old. Jim and his sister are alone on their father’s boat, floating in the Pacific, and facing an unknown future. Drug dealers, pirates and biological terrorist attacks on the United States have forced them to flee Colony D. They don’t know if their parents are alive or dead.
Jim has been in and out of trouble because of his penchant for heavy drinking. After his last bout of binge drinking, Jim was put on probation, and the only thing that kept him from spending the summer in rehab was a trip to stay with his father, Rick.
Rick left when Jim and his sister were quite young. His life is a mystery. He spent some time in prison, and now he has made a new life as a fish farmer on Colony D. Colony D is a self-sustained, man-made island in the Pacific, overseen by the fish farming corporation, PAC Fish. The island is made up of an assortment of boats lashed together into a community which lives by its own rules. The community is somewhat reminiscent of Water World.
As Jim’s story of living on Colony D unfolds, and he gets to know his father more, he begins to see that this man is much more complicated than he appears to be on the surface. Rick is a man who will never be satisfied with the life he has, he always wants more, and he is constantly looking for new ways to make a buck. Some of those ways may get him into trouble.
Jim is your typical teenaged smart aleck kid, who thinks he knows it all and that the parents are jerks. He’s a smart kid, but he has a lot to learn, and he needs to learn it without the effects of alcohol clouding his judgment. He is at turns funny, bone-headed, insecure and, well…a teenager. It’s refreshing to read about a teen doing things a teen would do! His escapades with his friend Riley are so reflective of that male teenage spirit!
As the book draws to a close, Jim brings us full circle, back to how he and his sister wound up alone on the boat. The end is a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving you anxious to see what happens next. Taking place in the near future, Flotilla is a unique and very enjoyable coming of age tale.
I want to thank the author and the publisher (Northern & 71st) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.