I am thrilled to be sharing Kate Alice Marshall’s new release I Am Still Alive today. This is a heartwrenching tale of strength, survival and one young girl’s determination to overcome the odds stacked against her, and it captivated me from the very first page.
I Am Still Alive
By Kate Alice Marshall
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
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.
Every now in then, I love to deviate from my normal reading habits and explore something different. I knew immediately upon reading the synopsis for I Am Still Alive that this was the perfect opportunity to do exactly that. And it proved to be a solid reminder of why it pays to explore books!
Photos above are not owned by me and were obtained via Pinterest.
This is Jess’s story. She has had her life turned upside down and finds herself dealing with the loss of her mother and an injury that has left her with very limited use of one leg and disfigured after a terrible car accident. When she is sent to live with her off the grid and estranged father in a remote part of the Canadian wilderness, her life spirals further out of control as men from his shady past come to collect a debt he cannot pay. As Jess remains hidden in the nearby woods, he is shot and killed while her only remaining home is burned to the ground. Now, alone and stranded with no means to seek help, she must fight for her very existence. But Jess wants more than survival, she wants revenge.
Kate Alice Marshall’s delivers an outstanding tale in the form of a brilliant protagonist. Jess presents as very pragmatic and relatable, establishing an effortless connection with the reader that only strengthens as the story unfolds. Each decision, response, setback, and accomplishment feel viable, convincingly exposing the reader to Jess’s solitary trials. I never found myself doubting or questioning her feelings or actions, I simply felt for her and with her.
The plot unfolds at a consistent pace that makes for a fast read. We are shown what is happening instead of being spoonfed unnecessary details and the result is an immersive experience that draws the reader in and feels complete. If I were to mention any possible issues with I Am Still Alive, it would be that I had anticipated more of a revenge-oriented tale based on the blurb. However, I was not disappointed as Jess proved to be an unexpected heroine who evolved beautifully. I was with her each step of the way. And therein lies the true reward of this survival tale.
I Am Still Alive manages to deliver on multiple fronts with an unlikely protagonist and a successful survival story. Offering a unique before and after narrative and quick pace, it proves that strength truly comes from within and is not to be limited to physical abilities.
TW: Grief, loss, disabilities, violence and some graphic scenes with animals.
This is another book I paired with an earthier blend. I enjoyed it with a Pu-erh tea that had a hint of cocoa.
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.
I would like to thank Penguin and Viking Books for my copy and allowing me to participate in the tour today. The above review is my own honest and unbiased opinion.