By: Alex Morel
Reported by: Julianna Helms
Source: ARC via Tour
Release Date: August 2nd, 2012 from Razorbill/Penguin
Hatchet meets Lost in this modern-day adventure tale of one girl's reawakening
Jane is on a plane on her way home to Montclair, New Jersey, from a mental hospital. She is about to kill herself. Just before she can swallow a lethal dose of pills, the plane hits turbulence and everything goes black. Jane wakes up amidst piles of wreckage and charred bodies on a snowy mountaintop. There is only one other survivor: a boy named Paul, who inspires Jane to want to fight for her life for the first time.
Jane and Paul scale icy slopes and huddle together for warmth at night, forging an intense emotional bond. But the wilderness is a vast and lethal force, and only one of them will survive.
-Summary from Goodreads
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Survive is a story churning with darkness and ice, cold and familiar all at once.
In the beginning of the story, Jane wanted to die, and I was angry. Perhaps I should've felt sad, sympathizing. But the truth is, I felt a rage storm and only a single drop of empathy.
The brief explanation is this: I am usually understanding of suicidal thoughts--despite the fact that I wish no one ever suffered from them--but Jane wanted to die because suicide runs in her family. She repeats this throughout the beginning and I find that an irritating, humiliating thing. Her father killed himself and now she wants to, too. That's no real reason at all.
Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when I closed the book, heaved a sigh, and realized that what I felt was not despise and resentment and instead a hole empty and heavy.
This is one of those books where, if you charge on despite the horrifying and apathetic beginning, you will get a reward greater than your expectations and perhaps even what you bargained for. Though Jane is a hostilely nonchalant and carelessly stubborn protagonist to start, as her survival--and failure to do so--in the wilds slowly hangs itself in jeopardy, her self-realization is actually incredibly enlightening and freeing to witness. With the help of dear, poor Paul, Jane survives--not simply the wilds but also herself. She learns to respect others around her as well as her individuality and that alone is something very inspiring.
The development of characters in this book are not perfect, but their desperation and fear crack through sharper than a dagger of ice. The atmosphere Alex Morel sets up is chilling, creepy, and frightening all at once. Her language and sensory is beautifully handled and the complex relationship between characters are delicately woven and retrieved. If there's one thing to keep you reading, it's Morel's straightforward and urgent prose that grabs at your attention and doesn't let go.
In the end, Survive is a surreal story balancing life and death on a dangerously thin scale. One move in the wrong direction and the entire story itself collapses.
With Alex Morel, you're speeding along a journey the right direction, and there is no looking back.