21 November 2013

Review: Survive by Alex Morel

Survive by Alex Morel

Published: 2 August 2012 by Razorbill

Pages: 259 (hardcover)

Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Survival

Source: Own library


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.

My Thoughts

Dear Survive,

Although it's not my usual style to write a review in letter format, somehow this feels like it is the right way to express how you made me feel.

When I first saw you and read your synopsis, I fell a little bit in love.  Survival stories are like a magnet to me - the tension, the fear, and the strength that the characters need to make it through a terrible ordeal just sing to me.   Immediately I knew I had to have you and read you intensely and without any intention of interrupting our relationship for anything less than a life-threatening emergency.  It was all so promising.

But reality can be far different from dreams - and as soon as you started wheeling out the coincidences I started to feel a little hesitant.  Jane finds herself on a plane full of mountain climbers - a lucky break perhaps.  The only other survivor also happens to have mountain climbing experience and has (although how he smuggled this through security is a miracle) a knife and a box of matches.  However,  sometimes are coincidences are necessary for the plot, so I was prepared to forgive and move on.

And then you go and have the survivors sleep in an airplane toilet. Comfortably.  Without complaint about being cramped or having the toilet bowl in the way, which would certainly be problem, maybe ONLY if the toilet is upside down but this is not possible as one of your characters USES the toilet.  So it can only be upright.  Have you ever BEEN in an airplane toilet, Survive?  Can you foresee how ONE person, let alone two can actually lay down on a toilet floor?  Even long haul fourteen hour flights don't have a toilet that big, let alone domestic flights or I have been flying on the wrong fucking airlines.

OK, so this is all details.  Maybe the characters could be the redemption here - strong boy, tough girl, fighting the elements and surviving on their wits and scavenging skills.  And yet, your characters don't even TRY to find a mobile phone until their second day, which they then dismiss immediately as being useless for having no signal.  Now, first of all, the FIRST thing I would do is tear the place apart looking for a phone.  Secondly, I wouldn't just ditch it because I couldn't get a signal in one spot, I'd at least TRY it in another location before giving up.

The final insult, and the end of any possible redemption came on day four.  Declarations of love between two teenagers after four days?  How the fuck can they be 1) thinking about love when they are trying not to freeze/starve/stupid themselves to death and 2) BE IN LOVE AFTER FOUR DAYS?

Survive, you tried to redeem yourself with a poignant, emotional ending.  But by that stage I was just so disappointed I couldn't bring myself to actually care about the characters.  So although you kept me entertained, it really wasn't in the way I imagined this relationship would be.  

Disappointedly yours,

1 comment:

  1. Kristin@Blood, Sweat and BooksNovember 21, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Oh wow this is one I've wanted to read but after your brilliantly worded review I might just have to pass this one by.



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