Hello everyone, today I will be taking part in the I am Still Alive blog tour! I am Still Alive was my first book in awhile that made me stay up all night reading as it was filled with vivid imagery and high stakes. I hope you check it out and for now, enjoy my stop!
About the Book:
Cheryl Strayed's Wild meets The Revenant in this heart-pounding story of survival and revenge in the unforgiving wilderness.
Jess is stranded in the woods. She has few supplies and only her dog for company. Her survival skills are limited, and she has disabilities that make physical labor a challenge. And winter is on its way. How did she get here?
Alternating between the past and the present, this tightly-paced novel tells the story of a girl who survived a car crash that killed her mother, then was pulled from foster care and sent to live with her estranged survivalist father in the remote Canadian wilderness. Jess was just beginning to get to know her dad when a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving their cabin burned to the ground and Jess's father dead. Now, Jess must fight with everything she has to forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. But she will survive. She has to survive. Because she wants revenge.
About the Author:
Kate Marshall lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. She works in the gaming industry as a writer and designer, most recently focusing on educational games for kids of all ages. She spends her winters cheerfully avoiding the rain, and during the summer ventures out to kayak and camp along Puget Sound. As Kate Marshall, her short fiction has appeared in venues such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Crossed Genres.
Interested to hear more? Check out my review:
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. All the thoughts below are my own*
I Am Still Alive tells the story of Jess, a teenage girl whose mother recently died in the car crash that injured her leg, making it hard for her too walk. So when she’s sent off into the Canadian wilderness to live with her survivalist father, she knows she will hate it. But just as she starts getting to know him, men from her father’s past come and kill him, leaving her stranded and left to fend for herself. With only her father’s dog to keep her company, Jess begins to feel like she will become yet another victim of starvation in the forest. But, one thought keeps her from letting it take her. She knows her father’s killer, and she won’t let him go without giving him a taste of his own medicine.
This was the perfect example of a book I didn’t expect to love, but absolutely did. The author was able to weave the perfect novel that would keep fantasy lovers like me entertained, while also making sure nothing was to crazy and unbelievable that the usual reader of contemporary would not be put off, with a thriller twist. She accomplished this through both her accelerating plot and unique writing style that made readers not only engaged in her words, but taking notes. I am Still Alive was written in a series of ‘before’ and ‘after’ chapters, both of which revolving around when her father was killed. This made is so whenever the reader was at one part of the narrative, they would wonder about how it might connect to the other, seeking connections and pulling on strings the author masterfully put in order to trick readers. Several times while reading, I remember thinking that this was when Jess will be saved, or that will be the death of her. But the author continued to prove that nothing is what it seems when you are out alone in the wilderness.
Another thing the author did to engage the reader, was that she added in real survival tricks the main character used throughout the book. As someone who could never imagine themselves camping, I was surprised about how much I was interested in these tidbits of information. But the author did not add these on accident. She did so to make her readers connect with Jess on a deeper level that most characters don’t often reach. When Jess was dragged out to the wilderness, she wasn’t an outdoorsy person. In fact, she immediately knew that she wanted to leave. This makes her relatable to the readers as she dodges the stereotype of the protagonist-who-already-knows-how-to-do-awesome-things, making her more lifelike.
This was the next thing that made this book so good: the characters. Jess for one, is a character who was forced into a terrible situation and tested again and again to see if she would survive. Often times, characters like hers are given few, if any, hurdles to dodge, and go through the wilderness like it was their home. And while it technically was Jess’s home, she hated it the whole time and barely left her father’s cabin when it was still there. I found this to make her character so much more relatable then others I’ve seen. She isn’t your typical adventure loving girl who reveled in the knowledge that she was surviving on her own, but she was someone who wished she could be anywhere but there and wanted something most survival/thriller novel protagonists don’t: safety.
But the author made sure to not only make Jess a well-rounded character, but also her father, his friend Griff, and the other side characters like that too. Each of them were unique in their own ways, having character traits that made them seem real and tangible. Griff, for example, was your typical scruffy quiet mountain guy who was awkward yet cuddly. But the author also made sure to add dimension to him, making him have thoughts and desires unlike other characters like him. For example, he had a daughter who he didn’t see often but wished he could. A daughter who was in another city, but he would fly there to be with her anyway, even if it meant not being there for his friend. I mention this because characters like him are usually extremely loyal and stagnant, while he was willing to risk going after his daughter and leaving his comfortable lifestyle to get a job. Marshall also put great effort into her antagonists. Though it is hard to learn much about them because we only see them a few times throughout the book, she still wrote characters that will give the readers goosebumps. Whenever they appeared, I instantly got nervous for Jess, wondering if this would finally be the end of her.
Finally, this book contained some of the best writing I have read in a while. I was drawn to her words as she described the forest and its depths, making me stay up all night just to finish the book. Marshall’s descriptions of the nearby lake and the cabin felt so real to me, painting vivid pictures in my head as the story progressed. This added to the suspense the readers experience while reading this book because her writing just made everything feel so real, sticking with readers as they go through the plot and its twists. This also made the plot feel much more alive than it might have otherwise, especially since much of it is Jess’s own thoughts as she survives in the wilderness
I would recommend this book for anyone who loves suspense, no matter what genre you typically read. This might also be a good book to give to someone who doesn’t usually read because of how vivid and entertaining it is. I for one know I would be recommending it to my brother who loves all things physical and adventurous. If you love a protagonist who shows you that in times of trouble, anyone could succeed, I am Still Alive is the book for you.
I am Still Alive is out July 24th, 2018!
I hope that you enjoyed my stop on this tour! I would like to say a special thank you to Penguin for including me! If you would like to preorder a copy of I am Still Alive, check out one of the links below.
Until next time,
Welcome to the Book Enigma! I review different genres of books from young adult fiction to sci-fi. Enjoy!
Aspiring author who, along with reading YA and with other genres, also fosters kittens, and play the piano and cello!
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”