Saturday, March 24, 2018

I am Still Alive by Kate Marshall - OPTIONAL

Marshall, Kate I am Still Alive, 352 pages.  Viking (Penguin), JULY 2018.  $18.  Language: PG-13 (37 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: R.

Jess was happy and content with her life with her mother – until the terrible car accident that killed Mom and left Jess with a devastating leg injury.  She has recovered somewhat, but her leg will never be the same again.  Then comes the crushing blow – she must go to live with the father she doesn’t remember in a small Alaskan town.  However, when she journeys there with her father’s friend, they bypass Alaska and go to an even more remote place in Canada.  Now Jess is stuck with, pain, anger, and no desire to learn the survival skills her father insists she will need to find her place in this wilderness.   The friend won’t becoming back for months, so Jess reluctantly starts to learn.  Then her father’s past catches up to him in the form of angry men, a gun, and her father’s death.  The cabin is set a flame.  How will Jess survive now?  And where will help come from any way?  The men will be back. 

On the whole, Marshall writes a taut novel alternating between Jess’s present day survival and flashbacks.  Jess has a lone dog as companion and makes plenty of mistakes – more mistakes than I was comfortable with – it made Jess look like she was incapable of thinking ahead and learning caution from past mistakes.  Violence-wise Jess’s father is graphically murdered as Jess watches from a safe spot and months later she has to dig up his body (think on that).  I do think this is a great addition to any list that includes Hatchet.

MS, HS – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

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