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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review: Survive by Alex Morel

I finished reading this book with eyes brimming with tears and a very heavy heart.

Title: Survive by Alex Morel
Pages: 259
Release Date: July 1st 2012
Published by: Hardie Grant Egmont
Source: Publisher (thanks Jen!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


Jane is running away from everything. From the facility she’s been living in, from her pain, from her guilt, from life. She boards a plane to Montclair, New Jersey, though her destination isn’t important – she doesn’t plan to be alive when the plane lands.

Jane has devised the perfect suicide. She’ll fall asleep on the plane and never wake up. But as she’s reaching for her pills in the tiny bathroom, the plane hits turbulence and everything goes black.

Jane wakes amid the charred wreckage of a plane crash on a snowy mountaintop, and discovers just one other survivor – a boy named Paul. Lost in a perilous, icy landscape, with little food and water, their chance of survival seems small. But as the pair unite against the vast wilderness, Jane discovers a reason to fight for her life.

It was ironic how Jane wanted to die, but instead found herself fighting for her life, finding her will to live in the most unexpected time and place, amidst a frozen wasteland, with an insufferable guy as a companion. Jane was no stranger to death, it runs in the family. But her journey through the most torturous terrains, braving snowstorms and trudging through ice walls made her acknowledge not just her imminent death, but also those of her loved ones who died before her. It is true that death changes people, and it changed Jane. It changed her anew now that she was staring it in the face. She wasn't as heartless as she thought she was, that even though she want to throw away hers, she still valued other lives. That she's also scared and hurting and she just wants all of it to stop.

I wish I hadn't met Paul. He was an innocent hiker who Jane yelled at when she panicked at the airport, her obsession with being on time winning over her. He shouldn't have sat beside Jane, pegging her for a philosophical girl. He shouldn't have been the other person who was spared when the plane crashed. He was just too good for it. If Jane thinks she's broken, then she found a kindred soul in Paul. He knew about death and is still learning how to deal with the losses he had. But he was there to help Jane get through the nightmare of her interrupted suicide, of feeling that it was her duty to die. He was there to share her pain, to understand her, to encourage her, and most of the time, to piss her off for being so arrogant one minute and caring the next. He makes me question a lot about living, about dying, about loving.

Who would expect these two people to fall in love? Maybe it was because they suffered life and death situations together, trying to stay alive, going through an excruciating journey that they both might not survive but the days and nights they were together led to sharing, to confessions, to sharing secrets, and that forged a strong bond between them. I expected it to happen, falling in love. It was so cliche, and yet it felt so unfair to have the two of them fall in love with each other because by then you'll expect to see them both happy together even when the situation is dire. The way they engaged with each other gave the story a little bit more life, and I found myself warming up to them both.

I admit it. I was drawn to this novel half expecting a fluffy story about a broken girl facing an unexpected challenge when the death she had so carefully planned for and craved was halted by another tragedy. I expected this book to be a little shallow, a little exciting, a little romantic and a little sweet. I was wrong. Very wrong.

What I got, instead, was a heart wrenching, unforgettable story of a girl who can't recognize herself for who she was, defined by tragedy and death. It was a story of a girl who just wanted to die, but found something to live for, to fight for, to ignore the voices for, to find the courage to trust herself, to be strong, to love. A girl whose life was changed by a plane crash and by that one person who gave her hope that things will be better, that she can be strong and face whatever life has in store for her.

I've always been a sucker for happy endings, and seeing Jane suffering all throughout her life from something that took away those that she loved made me desperate for her to find happiness for her own. She deserves it. And I felt like my heart was being ripped into two by how things ended in this novel. Is happy ending not for everyone? I was so desperate. I never got used to the painful feelings Jane and Paul had, and the only reprieve was those tender moments they shared. The feeling of hopelessness can be felt throughout this novel and you will just want it to end. The end, however, was surprisingly hopeful.

I have not been this emotionally invested in a novel for quite a while, and Survive just left me incapable of speech and by the time I was reading the last five pages, I was filled so much emotion. Alex Morel broke my heart with his writing. This novel made my heart ache so much it hurts by the time I finished it. It's beautiful. It's a novel that is intense and rich with emotions. It's a lot to take in at first, the sadness and all those depressing feelings but I loved how I felt Jane's and Paul's story as if it were my own. This is the kind of book you would want to pick up if you are looking for a sad, yet hopeful YA contemporary story every once in a while.

Content (plot, story flow, character):
I'm desperate for a happy ending. I still am. It's what they deserve. My heart still aches when I think about how it ended. I wanted to change it.
Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
I loved this cover as it conveys the story more.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Glad to hear you enjoyed this very much. I on the other hand felt it was too coincidental and planned out, and was expecting more survival than romance. To each their own I guess ;)

    1. Hey there, Braiden! I initially thought of that as well, but I guess the romance added more of that heart wrenching factor. It's actually what made the book memorable for me :) Thanks for the comment!

  2. Great review! I've been hearing a little bit about this book . . . sounds like a pretty good read. Might check it out soon.

    1. Hey there Erin! You should! It's worth the read :)

  3. Wow, I didn't expect it to be an emotional read at all. I kinda skipped this because I'm not a huge fan of survival novels but I think I'll give this a go. Thanks for the review!

    1. You should, Lynn! Tell me how you like it after :)

  4. I've heard some really good things about this book so I look forward to giving it a go. :) I've never seen that cover before, I thought it had a different cover?

    1. Hi Rebecca,

      This is the AU version, so it's got a different cover. You're referring to the one w/ the girl in the cover, right? I think that's the US version. :) Hardie Grant Egmont's also released Survive in Australia.


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