Monday, July 23, 2018

Review - I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall

I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 24, 2018
Date Read: July 20, 2018
Length:  336 pages
Source: First to Read
★★★☆☆
Cheryl Strayed’s Wild meets The Revenant in this heart-pounding story of survival and revenge in the unforgiving wilderness.

Jess is stranded in the woods. She has few supplies and only her dog for company. Her survival skills are limited, and she has disabilities that make physical labor a challenge. And winter is on its way. How did she get here?


Alternating between the past and the present, this tightly-paced novel tells the story of a girl who survived a car crash that killed her mother, then was pulled from foster care and sent to live with her estranged survivalist father in the remote Canadian wilderness. Jess was just beginning to get to know her dad when a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving their cabin burned to the ground and Jess’s father dead. Now, Jess must fight with everything she has to forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. But she will survive. She has to survive. Because she wants revenge.
My Review

I liked this book well enough.  I decided to read this book because the premise sounded rather interesting.  Having never read this author before, I really didn't go into the book with too many expectations.  I found it to be a pretty easy read that I did enjoy.  I did feel like there was something missing from the story that could have taken it to the next level for me but I am glad that I took a chance and decided to read this one.

Jess has not had it easy lately.  She was recently in an automobile accident with her mother.  Her mother did not survive the accident and Jess sustained some pretty serious injuries.  She has spent time in the hospital recovering and was eventually placed with a foster family.  Eventually she is sent to be with her father who has not played much of a role in her life and lives off the grid.

There is no way that Jess could have prepared herself for living with her father.  He lives in a tiny cabin in the middle of the woods in Canada along with his dog, Bo.  He has very few connections to the outside world and lives off of the land.  When Jess arrives, he starts to show her some of the skills she will need to know in her new home.  Jess really doesn't have a lot of interest in learning the things her father is trying to teach her and is mad at the whole situation.

The book is written as Jess's journal and starts out with alternating chapters of before and after which I thought worked really well.  It becomes quite obvious that this have taken a wrong turn very early in the book but it does take some time to find out exactly what did happen.  This is a story of survival.  Jess finds herself alone in the woods with no shelter, few supplies, and not a lot of skill with only a dog as support.  I did like Jess as a character.  I felt so bad for Jess and her desperation feels very authentic.  She has a lot of small victories and quite a few set backs, all of which could prove to be fatal. 

I would recommend this book to fans of survival stories.  Jess is a tough character that is working hard to survive in a nearly impossible situation.  I wouldn't hesitate to read more of Kate Alice Marshall's work.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Viking Books for Young Readers via First to Read.
About the Author

Kate Marshall lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. She works in the gaming industry as a writer and designer, most recently focusing on educational games for kids of all ages. She spends her winters cheerfully avoiding the rain, and during the summer ventures out to kayak and camp along Puget Sound. As Kate Marshall, her short fiction has appeared in venues such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Crossed Genres.

20 comments:

  1. Sounds like an interesting story. I like when they're told like that and leads up to what happened.

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  2. I like the setting for this book...there's something about trying to survive in the wild that intrigues!

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  3. the format seems interesting, I usually like that but I don't know as for the story

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  4. Jess certainly does sound like a strong woman. Great review.

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  5. Wow, out there in the woods, all I can think is coooold. Even with a cabin

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  6. Man, that must be terrifying

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  7. I think this would be a good fit for me. I like stories where the elements play a huge part in a character's survival.

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    1. I do too, Laura. For some reason, I never completely connected to Jess.

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  8. This could be an intense one for me. I do like survivor stories. Thanks, Carole!

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    1. I did like the the descriptions of dealing with the elements.

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  9. I like the idea of learning Jess's story through her diary entries. I imagine that would add a strong sense of authenticity.

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    1. It was told as if Jess was telling the reader everything that was happening.

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  10. I recently read a book which switched between before and after as well and think the format works really well for some stories. While you enjoyed it and it was nice to take a chance and try something new, it doesn't sound amazing too amazing to me. Great review!

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    1. I do think that the way the book was laid out worked really well. I think most readers will like this one a bit more than I did.

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