Review: Survive

Author: Alex Morel
  • Published: August 2, 2012
  • Publisher: Razorbill
  • Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Pages: 259 pages (ARC)
  • Source: Gifted
  • ~*~Summary~*~

Hatchet meets Lost in this modern-day adventure tale of one girl's reawakening

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.

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

She started out fighting to die. Love made her fight to SURVIVE.

My heart is beating rapidly in my chest as I fight to write this review. This book shocked me and managed to take me on a roller coaster ride in the span of a mere 250 pages. Despite its short length, it caused me to feel so many emotions. I went from a depression, to fear, to determination, love, heartbreak, and graciousness. And by the end of the book, Morel easily had me shedding tears. This was one hell of a journey.

The beginning of the book focuses on Jane's Plan. Jane's Plan is to kill herself on the plane ride home to her mother. She's been recovering from a suicide attempt. Suicide is built into her family after all. At least one person from every generation on her father's side of the family has taken their own life. And ever since Jane's father killed himself four years ago on Christmas Eve, Jane's been the next in line. She's been empty. All of her fake tears and helpful tendencies while she was supposed to get better in Life House were for this moment: to get on the plane and OD on pills so the angels can take her away and she can join her father. Then the plane crashes and she is only one of two survivors.

Jane is not likable in the beginning, but I adored her in the second half of the book. She's slightly insane and so determined to take her life because she doesn't see the point in living. But when the plane crashes, she suddenly wants to live because she is stuck with someone who wants to live so badly: Paul Hart. I really loved Paul. In the face of danger and death, he would crack stupid jokes because he was nervous and had no idea how to react. He was fearless and strong and kept Jane going on their survivalist journey when she thought she couldn't do anything anymore. He didn't let her give up.

The romance in this novel was perfectly placed. After surviving together, in one sleeping bag, trying so hard not to allow the other to die on them, you build this special bond with someone. That's just what happened with Jane and Paul. They told each other the tragedies of their pasts and lived through their horrendous present together. They fought for each other because they wanted to survive. They truly, truly loved each other. A bond like theirs is strong and special.

The really unique aspect of this novel was the survivalist ways. Both characters had to make do with whatever they could scrounge up from the wreckage of the crash. They climbed mountains, scaled cliffs, overcame injury and lack of food and water, and managed to miraculously kill a rabbit. It was all very unique. And the ending! Ah! It tugged on my heartstrings and made the tears flow freely. All I can say is that this book is powerful.

My one problem with this book is its length. While it was an incredibly quick read that I knocked out in a single sitting, I wish it were longer. I wouldn't change the plot at all, though my heart wishes that I could change a few aspects of the ending, but I would add a lot more detail. The reason so many tumultuous events were able to fit in a mere 250 pages was because there wasn't much detail to a lot of what happened. I was left wanting more even though I was more than satisfied by the tale that Morel weaved for us.

This book isn't for everybody. It tackles several heavy topics gracefully. None of it is overboard, but it is a sad story. This is not a book for someone who can't handle heavy themes and it's not a book for those in search of a happy ending full of cliches. This romance is real, the events in the story are catastrophic but real. There's no cliches, it's all raw. If you're in the mood for a heavier, powerful book that happens to be a quick read, I definitely recommend this one. Be warned, it will undoubtedly make you shed some tears. 3.5 stars to this tumultuous tale. 


I like this cover. I don't know why, but I do. The mountains and the title are obviously there because that's where the majority of the story takes place. The girl on the cover, Jane, has severe and almost icy features as well. It works out perfectly.

3.5 stars



  1. I've heard pretty good things about this book and I'm glad the romance was good:) Can't wait to read this!

  2. This was sad! :-( It says in the description but silly me I thought I might get a happy ending. I was interested in all the survival methods. I don't go to the snow ever so to learn eating snow may cause hypothermia was something I would never even think about. I felt really bad for Jane and I was proud of the way she fought mostly for love and what Paul gave up for her. He was so sweet and I felt so horrible for him.

  3. I'm totally moving this to the top of my TBR! I've been looking forward to reading it for awhile, and I recently saw the book trailer (which is awesome!) but your review made me want it immediately! It sounds like a truly beautiful yet heartbreaking story. I'll be sure to have my tissues ready ;)

  4. I like the cover of this book, it makes it a little appealing. Your review helps, I think I will look into this book. I try to stay away from sad books, but once in a while I want a book with substance that will move me. This looks like it could be it

  5. I have seen this at the library but I didn't think that I would like it too much. It seems like I made a bad decision. If it brought out that many emotions in you, it must be a great read. I must say, it has a beautiful cover. It is always nice when a books insides match its outside. Thanks for the review!