by Alex Morel
To by published by Penguin Razorbill
on August 2, 2012
Source: ARC traded with another blogger
My summary: It's December, and Jane is headed home to spend Christmas with her family. Jane has a secret, and it's not her Christmas list. She doesn't plan to make it off the plane. She's researched a mix of over-the-counter meds that will kill her, planned how to evade the rules of the Life House treatment center in order to buy the drugs on the way to the airport, figured out just what to say to her therapist so he won't suspect a thing. Jane's plans are thrown into disarray when her plane crashes. She and her seat mate, Paul, are the only crash survivors. They'll need to depend on each other, and Jane will have to dig deep to find her will to live.
My take: This book was an emotional roller coaster that I wasn't sure I wanted to get on, then didn't want to get off. I loved Jane's narrative voice. Her father committed suicide, and she feels that's her destiny too. She's a patient at Life House, a girl filled with witty quips and self-effacing humor designed to hide her pain. She says stuff like:
I can't die in these shoes. They're old lady shoes my mom bought me in case Life House had a prom or something. Think about that for a second, and you have a little window into what I'm dealing with. My mom figured there might be some nice boys I could dance with here at this fine mental institution.
Survive had some definite parallels to This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. Both books take a character who thinks she has lost her desire to live, then plunge her into tragedy. At the outset, Jane is a snarkier, edgier character than Sloane. After the crash, she's still cracking me up, still using her razor-edged humor to keep Paul at a distance. But slowly, the two of them bond and begin to work together to move to a location where they might be able to be spotted by rescuers. Paul has sorrows of his own, and getting to know him helps Jane move out of her therapy-induced narcissism.
This book was intense, and got even more so as the story developed. There were two aspects of the ending that bothered me in the abstract, but after I thought about it, I decided they actually worked for the story. One of them is a spoiler that is also mentioned in the book's blurb, so don't read to the end of that if you want to be surprised. If you read the book, please email me so we can discuss. My friends and family are tired of hearing me yammer on about books they haven't read.
My biggest complaint about this book was that there were parts of it I wanted to read more slowly, but I couldn't do it. This is the kind of book that won't leave your hands until you turn the last page. I definitely recommend Survive to fans of edge-of-your-seat reads, snarky narrators, and heart pounding suspense. What a ride!
Forgot to say -- this ARC will be up for grabs on Freebie Friday this week!