Friday, August 3, 2012

[Review] Survive by Alex Morel

Author: Alex Morel
Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 01/08/2012
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Pages: 260
Source: For review

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

My Rating:
Good read
Jane is running away from everything. From the facility she’s been living in, from her pain, from her guilt, from life. She boards a plane to Montclair, New Jersey, though her destination isn’t important – she doesn’t plan to be alive when the plane lands.

Jane has devised the perfect suicide. She’ll fall asleep on the plane and never wake up. But as she’s reaching for her pills in the tiny bathroom, the plane hits turbulence and everything goes black.

Jane wakes amid the charred wreckage of a plane crash on a snowy mountaintop, and discovers just one other survivor – a boy named Paul. Lost in a perilous, icy landscape, with little food and water, their chance of survival seems small. But as the pair unite against the vast wilderness, Jane discovers a reason to fight for her life.

My thoughts:

US HC cover

This book is a celebration. Of life, of love, of luck and hope and fortune and courage and determination. It embraces the very essence of the human experience; the animalistic instinct for survival and just how far dire circumstances can turn around a person's perspective on the world.

Survive hits off with an attempted, planned suicide. Jane Solis is a planner. After she was caught in the act of self-harm, she was sent to Life House Institute. And she's been good for the past 6 months, with the very intention of gaining a trip home. Now that she has, she's going to do it. She's ending it all, just like her dad did 5 years ago. Fate had other plans for Jane - just as she pops the deadly pill combination in her mouth, the plane hits heavy turbulence and the pills are knocked out of her before she loses consciousness. When she comes to, she's in the middle of a snowy desert and something awakens in her: she wants to live.

A little ways off, she finds the only other survivor of the crash, a handsome young man by the name of Paul, whom she had the pleasure of sitting next to on the plane. Together, they embark on a perilous journey with hope burning in their hearts that they will make it home.

What can I tell you about Jane Solis? She comes from a long line of people who took their own lives. She hates life, though I never felt like a true reason was given. And she's a rigorous planner. Where our lack of knowledge on Jane seeks to hinder our attachment to our heroine, her strong and realistic voice rings true through and through.

Similarly, we have Paul Hart - we don't know much about him, and for that his character could have come off a bit flat. However, since this is a 'survival book' it makes perfect sense that Alex Morel didn't delve into anything much more than melodramatic backgrounds that serve to develop the emotional development of the story. However, Paul does have an easygoing kind of energy about him, one that clicks with me.

Having been thrown into a situation where there is little hope for survival, the two teenagers form a quick bond. Together, they are strong, and Paul ignites in Jane a reason to live. It’s all very bittersweet, which if you know my tastes, you’ll know I love bittersweet.

Survive is a heart-racing roller-coaster ride of a book that explores deep issues with sincerity and authenticity that will resonate in readers. A book about survival as much as it is about love and loss; it failed to disappoint. Alex Morel, I’ll be waiting for your next book – may it be as captivating as this glorious debut!


First lines: 

It is ten minutes before ten, and normally I'd be staking out a chair for Group. That's the kind of thing you worry about in an institution like Life House. I guess that's good, in a way. The challenge of Group is to find a chair as far away from Old Doctor as possible without sitting too close to Big Stink, otherwise secretly known as BS. BS is Ben, and he's the only boy on Life House D, which is specifically for cutters and suicides, and he smells like urine baked at three-fifty for forty minutes.


"Sometimes luck makes you feel guilty," Paul says softly. 'You can't beat yourself up for still being here.'
... All that life Margaret had to look forward to, all that life I was trying to wreck and throw away. None of it matters. I was the lucky one. She wasn't. And now I feel guilty about it. The same way I felt guilty about living and my father dying. Why should we carry on when the people we love are dead?

(p. 97)
"...Why save us? Here's the only truth I can be certain of right now: There's a cold, icy world on the top of this mountain. Fall, you die; eat snow, you die; if you're not found, you die. Those are the facts and God isn't going to swoop in and change that. ...Sometimes signs are just signs, sometimes they lead you in the wrong direction."

(pp. 182)


INTERNATIONAL: Amazon || The Book Depository

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.


Sarah (saz101) said... [Reply]

Oh goodness... Cass. Wow. I was intrigued before, but now I am SERIOUSLY excited... I love how you've described the voices of Jane and Paul... I just... Wow. I'm so excited to read this, and so happy to hear she handles suicide and depression and these things with sensitivity! <3

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said... [Reply]

This sounds good Cass. I love the US cover and will add this one to my list. I am anxious to meet Jane and Paul.

Vegan YA Nerds said... [Reply]

I am a big fan of bittersweet as well, so you hooked me with that description. I've only read one other review of this, which wasn't as positive, so I'm glad I read this because you really have me wanting to read it!

Also, love the Aussie/UK cover a lot more than the US, it looks like a paranormal YA.

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