STARRED REVIEW
August 2018

Survival and reinvention

By Kate Alice Marshall

If you ask me, there’s no better time to read a good old-fashioned survival story than at the height of summer, when long, lazy days and warm nights might make readers long for some heart-pounding humans-versus-wilderness drama.

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BookPage Teen Top Pick, August 2018

If you ask me, there’s no better time to read a good old-fashioned survival story than at the height of summer, when long, lazy days and warm nights might make readers long for some heart-pounding humans-versus-wilderness drama.

Kate Alice Marshall’s I Am Still Alive certainly fits the bill, though there’s really nothing old-fashioned about it, since its themes and structures are boldly contemporary. The novel’s first half is divided into alternating sections titled “Before” and “After,” as 16-year-old Jess Cooper recounts how and why she came to live in a remote area of Canada with her estranged father, and how she’s been surviving in the days since his sudden murder and the destruction of everything that had been keeping her small family alive in this beautiful but unforgiving place.

By the time these two timelines merge midway through the novel, readers are bound to be thoroughly invested in Jess’ survival, made even more harrowing due to a painful disability that forces Jess to work twice as hard—and be at least twice as smart—as someone with two fully functioning legs. I Am Still Alive is full of the kinds of backcountry details that will intrigue fans of Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet and its ilk, from finding and killing food to making shelter, and there’s plenty of high-stakes conflict with humans and animals alike. But Marshall’s thrilling tale is also a deeply moving story about coming to terms with imperfections (both in oneself and in others) and about finding true resourcefulness and inner strength.

ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our Q&A with Kate Alice Marshall about I Am Still Alive.
 

This article was originally published in the August 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 

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I Am Still Alive

I Am Still Alive

By Kate Alice Marshall
Viking
ISBN 9780425290989

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