Jane is on a plane on her way home to Montclair, New Jersey, from a mental hospital. She is about to kill herself. Just before she can swallow a lethal dose of pills, the plane hits turbulence and everything goes black. Jane wakes up amidst piles of wreckage and charred bodies on a snowy mountaintop. There is only one other survivor: a boy named Paul, who inspires Jane to want to fight for her life for the first time.
Jane and Paul scale icy slopes and huddle together for warmth at night, forging an intense emotional bond. But the wilderness is a vast and lethal force, and only one of them will survive.
Survive was unique, ironic, riveting, and inspiring. A true survivor story - in more ways than one. Finally!
Jane and Paul, the main characters in Survive, truly make the story shine. I enjoyed watching them grow and evolve. Jane wants to die. She feels that her suicidal tendencies have been inherited, passed down from her grandmother and father, both who committed suicide themselves. After two failed attempts, she finds herself in Life House, a hospital for troubled teens. Alternatively, Paul seems to have it all together. He's outgoing, happy, healthy, and full of life. However, appearances can be deceiving. Paul is suffering, too, and he is battling his own demons. When their plane crashes in 250 miles of roadless mountains, known as the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Jane and Paul find themselves as the sole survivors. They soon discover that the wilderness keeps no secrets and demands all or nothing of its visitors.
I've always been curious about those who commit suicide. In those few short seconds before the end, do they question their decision? Do they regret it? Do they wish they could go back, start over? In Survive, we are permitted a bit of insight into the mind of Jane, who is ready to end everything on her own terms, only to be put in a position where she has to fight for her life or die. For someone who is big on "planning", in the fall-out of the crash, Jane learns just how precious life is, and that it really is worth living... if only she could survive the mountain.
Paul is a bit of an enigma. He is funny and outgoing most of the time, but can become brash and aloof. It's clear that there's something Paul is protecting, especially when Jane finds his black notebook. By working together, they each learn to trust the other, and learn the importance of being strong when the other is weak. I enjoyed watching their relationship unfold, deep and intense, even in their uncertain and stressful situation. They are both damaged individuals with two completely different stories, but somehow, they help each other deal with the demons of their past.
I was really rooting for Paul and Jane to make it -together and as individuals- and despite the synopsis, was just sure that they would... However, disaster strikes again, and one of them must find the strength to go on without the other. The final dozen pages or so made my heart beat painfully against my ribcage as I ached for a miracle. It only seemed fair after the storms -both literal and figurative- they had suffered. Life is not fair, though, and Survive doesn't necessarily end with a "happily ever after"... However, it does remind us of the fragility of life and the necessity to keep pushing on, even after those we love have gone on before us or when things don't go according to plan.
Survive is an extremely fast-paced read and full of wonderful details about the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Alex Morel expertly paints a mental picture for his readers that is as bleak and stark as the book's setting. There were times I felt like I was with Paul and Jane as they traversed the dangerous mountains and deceitfully peaceful valleys. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves suspenseful adventure, heart-warming romance, and most of all, true survival stories.
I was fortunate enough to have a chat with Alex Morel over the phone, where he gave me permission to interview him and record the conversation to share with all of you. In the audio clip below, you will hear Alex answer questions on his inspiration for Survive, how he went from first draft to published book, and more. I hope you enjoy listening and that you take something wonderful from his insightful comments! (Be sure to keep scrolling down to enter the Survive Giveaway!)
And finally - the giveaway! Alex Morel and his agent were generous enough to give me two ARC copies of Survive to give away on BlookGirl.com. If you'd like to read this wonderful book for yourself, just place your entries in the Rafflecopter box below! (This giveaway is open to the US and Canada only, please.)