Saturday, 2 February 2013


Woah Woah Woah, this novel was deep. Alex Morel's debut novel packs a hefty punch! First of all it throws you in with a suicidal main character something I've never experienced or read about before. For me this book challenged the definition of life to various people and how in the face of death even the people who want to die will strive to live. It outlined the point that people want to be in control of when they die, for instance the main character was happy, even looking forward, to dying when she was arranging it but when death was offered and presented, practically forced upon her, on a silver shining plate by the wilderness she was not up for accepting it.

It made me really think about life and how everyone interprets their lot in different ways. Jane, the main character, comes from a family where suicide is practically a tradition, three generations before her have committed suicide including her beloved father. Following her own attempt on her life Jane was institutionalised in a rehab centre and the novel begins as she prepares to visit her family for Christmas, leaving the hospital for the first time in a year. However Jane doesn't intend to reach her family instead she intends to take a lethal dose of pills on the plane heading towards her home.

Someone will find us soon, don't you think?
I wouldn't count on it?
But they always find people when they crash. They must know we've crashed.
Not in a blizzard and on a mountain in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Even if they know where we were, it could take days or weeks to get climbers up here.. With this amount of snow, we might not be found for weeks, maybe months.
Bob what?
Bob Marshall Wilderness. There are no roads. It's two hundred and fifty miles of roadless mountains, and I think we've landed somewhere in it.

The novel really begins after the plane crashes and Jane and one of the other passengers, Paul, are the only survivors stuck on a snowy mountain range miles from the nearest village. And Paul begins to challenge everything all of Jane's previous life values, as they both fight to survive in a desolate terrain.

I grew on Jane as the story went on and more of her past life was revealed. At the start of the novel she appears to be a spoilt, bizarre, sad girl whose life values are pretty messed up. However towards the end she has really developed and the primitive love relationship between Paul and Jane that has evolved is touching, and rather emotionally testing on the reader! As Jane begins to accept and embrace life, just as life seems to begin trying to elude her the reader becomes very proud and rather upset by the horrific ironic twist in the whole situation with Jane.

Paul is annoying, egoistical and a little spoilt, but despite this outer attitude he has his heart in the right place. What I really liked about Survive was the relationship between Paul and Jane wasn't whimsical it was based on something deeper - trust and the understanding that they really need each other to survive. In the real world they probably wouldn't have been romantically involved even probably friends but because of the circumstances they do fall in love gradually. He helps show Jane what should be important in her life and why she shouldn't want to end it.

Survive is a heartbreaking account of two plane crash survivors struggling to survive, fighting for their lives. I cried several times, especially at the sad bitter end, again a unique feature of this YA novel - not necessarily a completely happy ending. The reader can really see Jane change as a character and although the story itself is depressing Morel weaves it sweetly and calmly, there is no rush to the pace of the plot despite the desperation and need for hurry in the story. It is planned precisely and carefully, well thought out and really easy to follow and read. Although Survive doesn't quite achieve stunning Skinny rating it definitely gets a solid 5 out of 5 and is one I'll revisit.

It's published on the 4th of February (Monday!!!!) and is honestly worth every penny of the £5.24. It's published by Electric Monkey an imprint of Egmont and for a debut novel is absolutely amazing!

En Bon Lu!

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