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I Am Still Alive

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Jess is alone. Her cabin has burned to the ground. She knows if she doesn’t act fast, the cold will kill her before she has time to worry about food. But she is still alive—for now.

Jess hadn’t seen her survivalist, off-the-grid dad in over a decade. But after a car crash killed her mother and left her injured, she was forced to move to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. Just as Jess was beginning to get to know him, a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving her father dead and Jess stranded.

With only her father’s dog for company, Jess must forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. Some days it feels like the wild is out to destroy her, but she’s stronger than she ever imagined.

Jess will survive. She has to. She knows who killed her father… and she wants revenge.

331 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 24, 2018

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About the author

Kate Alice Marshall

14 books1,767 followers
Kate Alice Marshall is the author of young adult and middle grade novels, including I AM STILL ALIVE, RULES FOR VANISHING, and THIRTEENS.

She lives outside of Seattle with her husband, two dogs named Vonnegut and Octavia, and two kids. They all conspire to keep her on her toes.

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5 stars
2,151 (26%)
4 stars
3,462 (42%)
3 stars
2,047 (25%)
2 stars
400 (4%)
1 star
107 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,651 reviews
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,607 reviews10.7k followers
February 22, 2023

Alternating between Before and After timelines, I Am Still Alive follows teenager, Jess, who has moved to Canada to live with her survivalist, off-the-grid father. A man she has been estranged from for years.

Battered, bruised and grieving, Jess has recently survived a car crash in which her mother was killed.

Like losing your mom isn't hard enough. Like losing the strength in your own body isn't hard enough. Now Jess has to leave the only life she has ever known behind and move to the wilderness to live with a virtual stranger.

Y'all, you can tell from the very start that this story is going to take you places. Those places aren't going to be great, but what is great is the writing, pacing and format of this YA Survival Thriller.

After a shocking event, which is revealed slowly over the course of the story, Jess ends up alone.

The cabin where she had been living burned to the ground, leaving her, her dog Bo and a few meager supplies to try to survive on their own.

Jess is still in a lot of pain from her accident. Her muscles atrophied in one leg fairly severely; as in, she was in therapy, training herself to walk again prior to moving to the wilderness.

Because of this, even small tasks are literally exhausting for her. Her physical limitations present mental challenges as well. She truly must learn to listen to her body.

This is a true survival story. Marshall does not shy away from pain, hunger, thirst, desperation and anguish. It is all on page and at times, an agonizing read.

There's also some fairly painful issues involving family, guilt and grief. All handled extraordinarily well.

Reminiscent of Hatchet, the first survival story I ever loved, I really enjoyed reading this. I really enjoyed reading it, even though it tore my heart out and I legit cried like a baby at the end.

This is not a comfortable read, but it's definitely a challenging, thought-provoking, adventurous read; not for the faint of heart.

I will absolutely be reading more from this author!

Trigger Warning: .
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,093 reviews17.7k followers
May 16, 2018
I feel like three stars always look a little weird, so let me clarify that this is a positive three-star rating. This is a compelling survival story that is marketed as a revenge story and I just… didn’t get exactly what I was hoping. But let’s be real, this was still entertaining.

So, my main thought about this is that this is very well-written, but it's essentially just a survival story and doesn't go much beyond.

Maybe my main problem was that… I just didn’t get exactly what I wanted? The revenge element is there, but it’s very low on intrigue and definitely not the main plot point. We don’t even see the lead plotting revenge until like page 200, and in a book where the marketing that caught me was Revenge, this was disappointing.

But on a counterexample, it was the plot that kept me reading - survival stories are always fun for me. I binged this in a day. And yeah, as survival stories go, it didn’t do anything new, but it didn’t have to. Survival stories are great and always have been and always will remain so, so who really cares?

I mean, I guess it made the book a little less entertaining for me. I did not find the main character, Jess, particularly compelling on her own, which is something that tends to really set survival stories apart for me. Jess has a disability and the narrative does a really good job with it!! But that was kind of… the whole list of everything that set the story apart.

But... it was still an interesting, quick read. I wouldn't rush to recommend but I'm certainly not going to tell you to take it off your TBR if you like survival stories.


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Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,107 reviews531 followers
June 9, 2023
A very well written survival book!

First, Jess's mother is killed in the same car accident that injures her leg. Then, Jess is sent to live up north with her father, an extreme survivalist. Despite herself, Jess learns how to survive out in the wilderness. Her experiences and many mistakes help her grow as a person. Her enormous love for her dog Bo was the heartbreak romance in this novel.

This novel is action-packed and filled with riveting descriptions of the rugged but beautiful wilderness - "a place that does not love me and that I do not love. But we don't expect love from each other, the wild and me. We only want to survive..."

Jess had no choice but to fend for herself in order to survive, and as the title of the story confirms: "My name is Jess Cooper, and I am still alive." I thoroughly enjoyed this one!
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
872 reviews3,756 followers
July 10, 2019
Great survival story. Would recommend to anyone who loves that genre. There is ABSOLUTELY ZERO ROMANCE for those looking for that in a book.

Audiobook: Loved it, would recommend this format.

Disability rep: The character has a new to her disability at the start of the book. She often refers to herself as "broken" but a later scene does show her checking her own thoughts about disability. Her father shuns physical therapy and he makes no accomodations for her disability, has a mindset of "nature will cure you." She stands up to this every time.

tw: a LOT of animal hunting and field dressing described in detail (character is a former vegetarian, often expresses her regret for hunting, hunting is ONLY used for survival), injury of a pet, parent death and PTSD reliving parent death, murder, near drowning, being stranded in extreme cold weather, thoughts of dying, unhealthy foster care situation.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,794 reviews485 followers
July 24, 2018
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I liked this book well enough. I decided to read this book because the premise sounded rather interesting. Having never read this author before, I really didn't go into the book with too many expectations. I found it to be a pretty easy read that I did enjoy. I did feel like there was something missing from the story that could have taken it to the next level for me but I am glad that I took a chance and decided to read this one.

Jess has not had it easy lately. She was recently in an automobile accident with her mother. Her mother did not survive the accident and Jess sustained some pretty serious injuries. She has spent time in the hospital recovering and was eventually placed with a foster family. Eventually she is sent to be with her father who has not played much of a role in her life and lives off the grid.

There is no way that Jess could have prepared herself for living with her father. He lives in a tiny cabin in the middle of the woods in Canada along with his dog, Bo. He has very few connections to the outside world and lives off of the land. When Jess arrives, he starts to show her some of the skills she will need to know in her new home. Jess really doesn't have a lot of interest in learning the things her father is trying to teach her and is mad at the whole situation.

The book is written as Jess's journal and starts out with alternating chapters of before and after which I thought worked really well. It becomes quite obvious that this have taken a wrong turn very early in the book but it does take some time to find out exactly what did happen. This is a story of survival. Jess finds herself alone in the woods with no shelter, few supplies, and not a lot of skill with only a dog as support. I did like Jess as a character. I felt so bad for Jess and her desperation feels very authentic. She has a lot of small victories and quite a few set backs, all of which could prove to be fatal.

I would recommend this book to fans of survival stories. Jess is a tough character that is working hard to survive in a nearly impossible situation. I wouldn't hesitate to read more of Kate Alice Marshall's work.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Viking Books for Young Readers via First to Read.

Initial Thoughts
This was 3.5 star read for me. For now, I am going with 3 stars but I may bump it to 4 after I can think about it for a bit more. This was really a survival story. Jess must learn to live off the land with only a dog for help and support. The first part of the book is set up with alternating chapters of before the event that left her all alone and after as she is trying to survive.
Profile Image for Kate Vocke (bookapotamus).
596 reviews122 followers
July 9, 2018
Every time I read a book like this I realize how very dead I would be if I ever got lost in the woods! Put me up in the wilderness of Canada or Alaska and throw me in complete darkness and snow - and forget it - I MIGHT last 5 minutes.

Jess is alone. Her mother dies in a car crash, severely injuring here and now she's got no-one. She's only 16, and is in turn, forced to go live with her estranged father who she hasn't seen in about 12 years. Dad is a homesteader, and off-the-grid, he hates the government, and is living off the land. They are out in the middle of nowhere in the rough Canada wilderness, and this life she's dumped into, is a harsh shocking reality. But then something goes horribly bad. Her father is dead. And Jess is alone. Cue me freaking out!

We read through journal entries Jess writes about her life with her mom - before. Her brief time with her dad - before. And then we reach - after. Where Jess has no-one but a loyal dog-wolf hybrid, named Bo, and her own sheer willpower. Will she survive the winter in Canada? How will she eat, stay warm, and even just survive walking through the wilderness when her body is still hurting and broken. And who killed her father?

This was an easy breezy read that had me sucked in front start to finish. The writing is really good and I enjoyed the suspense and found myself rooting for Jess (and Bo!) to survive. A really good book.
Profile Image for Juli.
1,899 reviews492 followers
July 9, 2018
Jess is alone. She is angry, hurt and struggling to stay alive. First she lost her mother in a car accident that left her injured and facing months of physical therapy. Then she was shipped off to live with her father in the Canadian wilderness. She barely remembers her father and she doesn't want to live with him in the middle of nowhere. No radio. No electricity. No nothing. Soon after she arrives, her dad is gone too and Jess is left to face the wilderness alone. Can she survive?

I love this book! Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. I had to find out what happens! I binge read the entire thing. The story is suspenseful and compelling. Jess is stronger and more capable than she believes at first. As she struggles to learn how to hunt and keep herself dry and warm, she comes to learn just how intelligent and resourceful she is. She not only takes care of herself and her dad's dog, Bo, but she prepares for a showdown with the people who took her father away. She knows they are coming back....but she's going to be ready for them. It's quite the showdown in the end! Great book!

I have a weakness for suspense thrillers set in the wilderness. This book was just what I love! I'm definitely going to read more by this author. The story was well-written and the pacing kept the suspense going from beginning to end! I don't binge read books very often...but this one I just could not put down.

**I voluntarily read an advance readers copy of this book from Penguin via First To Read. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
Profile Image for Hilly 🎐.
709 reviews1,325 followers
January 10, 2022
Why is it always the dogs???? 😔

This wasn't the book I expected. And that ruined things a little because I actually wasn't in the mood for this kind of book. There's survival, yes, but the main focus is the relationship between a daughter and her estranged father. It's first of all a revenge plot (you might say, duh it’s in the synopsis you idiot, and you’d be right *sigh*) and it's told from the main character's personal journal. Plus it has lots of flashbacks which I historically don't like in a book if they so heavily break the narrative structure.

KAM's writing is raw and emotional, while being quick at the same time, and I adored it. I also liked that she included a disabled main character and didn't sugarcoat her struggles, both mental and physical. I liked Jess but not enough to get emotionally attached to her. As she's the one and only character you follow for most of the book, it was difficult not to feel neutral towards the story. I loved the dog though.

KAM definitely has a great voice, I just need to find the right book of hers that will mesh better with me.
Profile Image for Empress Reece (Hooked on Books).
915 reviews78 followers
July 29, 2018
I love a good survival story but this story felt like a non-stop pity party from start to finish. I got so tired of listening to Jess cry and feel sorry for herself. It was just way too much. I seriously found myself having more sympathy for the dog, then I did Jess. It definitely needs more action and suspense and less whining!

*I received this ARC from First to Read in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Profile Image for jenny✨.
578 reviews836 followers
February 19, 2022
3 solid stars!

this was not the sort of heart-wrenching storytelling that i encountered in kate alice marshall's rules for vanishing, which thoroughly wormed its way under my skin (and which still makes me shudder deliciously to this day).

and yet KAM's clear, engaging writing holds true. though i prefer her supernatural lore to survival stories, this was nonetheless a book made all the more enjoyable by the author's knack for non-clichéd prose that keeps you flipping pages.

buddy read with sheena! 🥰
Profile Image for Taschima.
867 reviews398 followers
July 27, 2018
Holy shit this book was good.

It kind of reminded me of The Martian (I mean, duh, it is a survival book) though instead of space Jess is stuck in the middle of nowhere in Canada.

Which to me makes it 100 times scarier because I may never make it to Mars but I can sure as hell get lost in the middle of the forest (might be able to get lost in my own backyard--though I'd deny it). And you know what, I can't say I would be as resourceful or strong or patient or just pretty fricking ballsy as Jess is in this novel. And with a bad leg to boot? Raise the stakes and made me love Jess even more.

In the beginning, after her mother dies and Jess is forced to live with a father she barely knows, Jess was a bit moody and ANGRY. And she had every right to be! She is like every single one of us--couch potatoes who can't go 10 minutes without checking the internet. Now take a 16 year old, kill her mother, take away everything and anything that is familiar to her and throw her into the woods with her nature loving father...

You can say she was a little pissed off.

But after everything goes down and Jess is made to survive... that is when the story gets real good and the character development flourishes. Kate Marshall doesn't shy away from the ugliness of survival either--Let's just say during the whole novel I didn't know if Jess would survive or not. I was legitimately scared for her. Some pretty disturbing shit goes down as well that is morbidly fascinating, and some other things were just downright depressing (but in a good way? What am I saying?!)

The way the relationship with the father is portrayed is so complicated and precious and absolutely fantastic. I felt Jess' anger to the core towards this man who abandoned her and her mother. It is interesting seeing the two characters interact and brings a spark to the story. Yeah, give me conflict!

I also enjoyed how the story is told in "before" and "after" chapters. The only thing I found distracting about it, is that the novel is supposed to be Jess' telling of her story. Jess is writing down her story in a notebook so whoever finds it knows she was there and what she went through. So you are reading her story and you would be firmly set in the "before" story line flow when "present" Jess interrupts the flow by making a comment. It would have been helpful if her "present" comments were italicized or something to distinguish them better and give your eyes a visual cue. That is all. Not that the comments deterred from my enjoyment of the novel, not at all.

I would have, for sure, died like 20 different ways out in that wilderness and it just always amazes me how these characters manage to rise above and laugh in the face of certain death. One thing is for sure, if you plan to take a trip to the wilderness bring this book with you just in case. It might actually save you, or at the very least keep you entertain until a bear mauls you to death.
Profile Image for Jennie S.
311 reviews26 followers
May 12, 2020
I can see this book turning to a movie, and it will be fast paced and action packed, just the kind that might inspire a weekend fishing trip in the wilderness. Or, if you are in the mood for something adventurous on a cold day, this novel can scratch that itch without making you leave the comfort of your own home.

The prominent theme of this book is survival. A young girl is thrust into the cold Canadian wilderness when her mother died in a car crash and she has to live with her father, a mountain hermit.

The main character is very inspiring for getting a pilot licence at such a young age. She is precocious, impressively so even if it’s made to be by the extenuating circumstances. She is determined and spirited, a fire in the frigid snow.

The relationship between the protagonist and her father is worth mentioning. At first I didn’t like it: he is weird and forceful at times. Relationships are not perfect because people are not perfect. After awhile, we come to sympathize with the father because of the small details. When the bad guys came in the end, it somewhat vindicated the gravity and mysteriousness of his decisions.

The action in the end is quick and easy (even with the small turning point). Some might judge it unfavourably because the lack of realism. Succeeding in what the protagonist meant to do is not an easy feat, and the probability of that accomplishment is infinitesimal unlikely in the real world. But who cares, which action movie ever made on the big screen is ever realistic? Who doesn’t enjoy watching a little girl kicking a bunch of evil, greedy grown man’s sorry behinds?

Overall, a quick read and an interesting turn of events. The plot is simple enough, and the characters are good.
Profile Image for Paulina.
22 reviews8 followers
May 13, 2020
This doesn’t even deserve a star. Read this wishing I was dead not alive at all. I was bored and just waited aimlessly for hours for something exciting to happen but it never came. I liked the dog though he was cool but I like dogs anyway so there you get a star because you had a cool dog.

P.s never finish a book you can’t stand.
Profile Image for Cisz Geverink - Strasters.
768 reviews31 followers
October 2, 2019
"Nooit ben ik zo eenzaam geweest, en de stilte is hier is oneindig en rekt zich kilometerslang uit, dwars door oneindige bossen en een grenzeloze, lege hemel." ~ p50.

Survival, overleven, persoonlijke ontwikkeling en actie. Dit boek heeft ALLES, en maakte mij echt zo blij tijdens het lezen. Een soort YA Bear Grylls verhaal. Ik hou er van!!!

"Ik wil in leven blijven. En daar gaat niemand anders voor zorgen dan ik." ~ p86.

Mijn naam is Tess Cooper en ik leef nog is een titel die je niet snel zal vergeten, en verteld je gelijk alles wat je moet weten. Tess Cooper leeft nog. Maar hoelang zal zij nog leven? Het verhaal heeft 2 beginpunten, een op een landingbaan in Alaska en de ander aan de oever van een meer. Ze zal je beide versies vertellen, wat er gebeurde voor haar vader stierf, en wat er daarna gebeurde. Dit alles schrijft ze op in een notitieboekje, in de veronderstelling dat ze waarschijnlijk dood is, als je het leest.
Ik heb echt van elke pagina genoten. Wat een geweldig verhaal! Tess is echt een bikkel, terwijl ze zelf het nodige mankeert en heeft meegemaakt. Een personage beeld waar ik mij erg in kan vinden. En dan de lokatie: in de middle of nowhere in Canada. Ik was er, ik voelde het, ik beleefde het samen met Tess. En wat heeft Kate Alice Marshall een fijne schrijfstijl. Geen moment raak je als lezer verveelt. Ze weet je met iedere letter je aandacht vast te houden, van het begint tot het einde. Van mij had het nog zo nog 200 bladzijden mogen duren!

"Ik heb een week, misschien 3 weken, om uit te vinden hoe ik moet overleven." ~ p182.

Ik hoop echt dat er nog veel boeken komen van haar hand in deze stijl. Geloof me: ik ga ze allemaal lezen! Ik ben fan, per direct. Ik kan dan ook niet anders dan 5 sterren geven!

Profile Image for Shannon.
278 reviews252 followers
October 21, 2018

This was tense, thrilling, and compelling! A 16 year old girl is stranded in the Alaskan wilderness for months on end with no survival knowledge. She has no parents, no guide, no mentor, and no help. And winter is approaching swiftly. This book kept me on my toes for its entirety, and I didn't want to set it down. Not sure why I didn't wanna give it a 5, but a 4.5 is still a highly respectable rating in my opinion.
Profile Image for Lisa (NY).
1,547 reviews602 followers
January 6, 2022
[3+] My son and I wanted a break from our heavy buddy reads and this adventure featuring a young woman surviving in the Canadian wilderness was entertaining and fast paced. The amount of tragedy in her life did seem excessive for this genre.
Profile Image for Anna Schumacher.
Author 5 books44 followers
May 19, 2018
This book grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go. I stayed up WAY too late finishing it, even though I have a toddler and knew I'd be up at 6 am and hating life the next day. It was seriously that good.

With elements of Winter's Bone and Into the Wild, it's a harrowing tale of a girl stuck in the wilderness who just can't seem to catch a break—but holy crap, this character has heart! Even when everything seems to be going against her, she manages to find some new way of thinking or innovative solution to keep herself and her trusty sidekick Bo (a half-wild dog and wonderful character in his own respect) alive. The ending is heart-pounding, lump-in-your-throat thriller action. Not for the faint of heart! But SO good.

I was consistently impressed with Marshall's ability to keep me engaged (like, edge-of-my-seat, don't-come-near-me-I'll-bite-you engaged) for chapters on end with no supporting characters and no dialogue. This is a single character's stream of thought, and it's riveting.

I'll enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone who'll listen for the fascinating wilderness details, clever and nuanced protagonist, and roller-coaster pace. The writing is crisp and immediate. I can't wait to see what Marshall does next!
Profile Image for Gray Cox.
Author 4 books165 followers
September 22, 2018
First off, I know this is random but this book's cover and the title is a MOOD. I had a lot of fun today carrying it around my homeschool groups while wearing all black, black nail polish, and holding it up every time someone asked me how my week was. 😂

It was amazing.

Secondly, this was a decent read. I don't have many praises or complaints, it wasn't bad but it didn't blow my mind.

I do wish Jess had a few tougher moments because she went on about being stronger but we never saw a /whole/ lot of character development.

I also think this book tried to be like Hatchet by Gary Paulsen but fell really short compared to it.

An okay read at most.
Profile Image for Sara (A Gingerly Review).
2,699 reviews160 followers
May 25, 2023
12/2020: I loved this story so much that it demands a reread


4.5 stars

I was hooked and tore through this in no time. I was also reminded that I probably would not survive in the wilderness on my own.


Full review can be found here: https://agingerlyreview.wordpress.com...

I thought I knew what I was getting into when I picked up this book from Penguin Teen but I was wrong. What a roller coaster of a thriller!

Short recap: Teenager Jess (aka Sequoia) has had a very rough life. Her dad left when she was very young and her mother was recently killed in a car accident. That same car accident left her with a disability that makes it difficult for her to walk, or even run. Forced to live with her estranged dad, who happened to relocate to very remote Canada, Jess will discover who she really is and what she is truly capable of.

If you want a stellar read about survival and finding inner strength, this will be the book for you. This absolutely blew me away. I read this from cover to cover in a matter of hours. I was so hooked on this story and so involved in Jess’ survival that I couldn’t put this down for anything. It also made me realize that I probably wouldn’t survive in a situation like this. I might last a few minutes but that would be it. I’m far too soft. 😦

The entire story is told from Jess’ perspective and split into Before and After. The Before chapters are from her life with her Mom and back when she was happy. The After chapters take place after the loss of her father. That’s right – her father is killed and Jess is forced to find a way to survive in the middle of absolute nowhere with nothing but her small knowledge of wilderness survival and her father’s dog, Bo. Are you interested in reading yet? I’ll continue.

What Jess doesn’t know about her father is the reason he left her and her mom – he got caught up in some truly terrible things. These terrible things ended up costing him his life, and could possibly take her life as well. The main question I had throughout the entire story was who killed her dad and why? Who would want to take out her father who was living off of the radar in the most remote part of Canada? He was nowhere near phones or even civilization. If her dad couldn’t grow it, hunt it, or make it, it wasn’t necessary.

Do I have you interested in this now? This was a quick read and it was outstanding. The writing was fluid and I loved it. The suspense was heart pounding and had me on the edge of my seat. My only complaint is that I took so long to finally read this.
Profile Image for Jay G.
1,281 reviews460 followers
September 28, 2018
Want to see more bookish things from me? check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

3.5/5 Stars

Jess Cooper is left alone in the middle of nowhere after witnessing the murder of her father and the cabin she was living in burn to the ground. With Bo, her father's dog as her only companion, Jess must survive winter while waiting for the men to return.

Although entertaining at times, I found this story to be a bit slow for my liking. There were some points that were fast-paced, but most of it was just Jess complaining about her situation... which given the circumstances is understandable... but it got rather repetitive after a while. The best part of the story was Bo, he was so trusting and loyal and the way the author wrote his character was great. He almost seemed human in his mannerisms. I also really loved Griff, he was so pure and I wish we had seen more of him. I did really like the writing style and found it very easy to read. I enjoyed the alternating timelines between 'before' and 'after' and found it interesting how the story eventually merged together to be in the present time. I did feel like the ending was a bit anti-climactic and was a bit disappointed by that. I do think this would be a great read for anyone who enjoys survival stories and I am definitely willing to pick up more of this author's work in the future!
Profile Image for Amanda .
727 reviews13 followers
February 18, 2020
I didn't have any expectations going into this book. It pleasantly surprised me. It was like a modern day update of Hatchet, with a female protagonist.

Teenage Jess had recently been debilitated in a car crash that killed her mother, put her in the charge of foster care, and set her to live with her father whom she hadn't lived with (or seen but once) since she was six months old.

Jess had no idea her father would be a survivalist, living so off-the-grid that he had no neighbors and the only way to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness was by sea plane. In their short time together, she found out that . Now Jess has to fight for survival with few resources and only her father’s dog for company.

This book was a combination of an adventure and thriller. Since the protagonist was a 16-year old, I'm giving it more leeway as a thriller than I normally would.

Trigger warning: harm to animals, both for survival purposes and intent to kill
Profile Image for Elsa Bakker.
433 reviews10 followers
December 19, 2019
Een tijd terug alweer kregen wij het persbericht rondom de Young Adult ‘Mijn naam is Jess Cooper en ik leef nog’ van Karakter Uitgevers binnen. Ik had al een diverse keren naar berichten op social media gekeken omtrent dit boek omdat zowel de cover als de flaptekst mij aanspraken. Die laatste eindigt namelijk met de zin “Dus als jij dit leest, ben ik waarschijnlijk dood.”, precies dat maakt mij bijzonder nieuwsgierig naar het inhoudelijke verhaal. Hoe enthousiast ik mijzelf toen als recensent aanbood, zou het toch nog enige tijd duren voordat ik het boek daadwerkelijk kon lezen en nog langer voor de recensie er zou zijn. Maar hier is die dan eindelijk!

“Ik begrijp nog niet goed wat hier gebeurd is. Ik weet het, maar ik voel het niet. Ik voel het, maar ik begrijp niet wat ik voel.”

Vanaf de eerste pagina’s wordt de setting waarin het verhaal zich afspeelt duidelijk gemaakt. Je leest vanuit de gedachtegang van het hoofdpersonage Jess en de manier waarop de hoofdstukken verdeelt zijn wordt ook gelijk duidelijk. Dit zorgt voor een prettige, overzichtelijke leesflow waarin je gemakkelijker een pauze kan nemen wanneer je omgeving daarom vraagt.

“Ik denk niet dat ik het kan. Maar ik ga er wel mijn uiterste best voor doen.”

Jess leer je al lezende kennen doormiddel van haar eigen bewoording, je maakt haar groei mee in zelfontwikkeling en haar doorzettingsvermogen toont haar kracht. De schrijfster heeft dit op een behoorlijk natuurlijke manier beschreven naar mijn idee. Het lijkt alsof ze in gedachte de leeftijd aangenomen heeft van het hoofdpersonage en zich op die manier ingeleefd heeft in het schrijfproces, zo komen alle keuzes die Jess maakt realistisch voor haar leeftijd en situaties over.

“De leegte heeft juist ruimte gemaakt voor angst, en nu stik ik er bijna in.”

De bewoording die de schrijfster Kate Alice Marshall kiest voor Jess en het daadwerkelijke verhaal leest gewoon soepel weg en past perfect bij het genre YA. Wat dat betreft heb ik niet veel aan te merken op het verhaal. Toch vind ik dat de spanningsboog gedurende het verhaal af en toe wat verslappen. Ik bleef niet constant geboeid omdat ik voor mijn gevoel soms dezelfde soort gebeurtenissen las.

Daarbij voelde het verhaal voor mij op de één of andere manier niet geheel origineel, alsof ik al eerder zoiets gelezen of gezien heb. Het is mooi geschreven maar toch voelt het zo af en toe heel erg script achtig, niet realistisch en te Amerikaans voor mij. Ik kan mij zo voorstellen dat iedere lezer dit boek op zijn/haar eigen manier leest uiteraard en dit is dus ook gelukkig maar één mening.

Wel zal het boek naar mijn idee bij een groot aantal YA lezers absoluut in de smaak vallen want het is absoluut een lekker, vlot weg lezend, pakkend verhaal wat je in één ruk uitleest. Maar voor mij zijn er gelukkig nog zat andere boeken die mij beter zullen bevallen gok ik.

Lieve leesgroet, Elsa.
Profile Image for Kal ★ Reader Voracious.
560 reviews192 followers
April 17, 2020
I Am Still Alive is a book that was on my radar in 2018 but I never got around to reading. And there never really was a lot of buzz for it. But I fell in unabashedly in love with with Marshall's sophomore novel Rules for Vanishing last year. I love her writing so much, Marshall earned a spot on my insta-buy list! So when I saw this book on Book Outlet a couple of months ago, of course I snatched it up!

This book made me feel things, friends. It's evocative, tense, and compelling and made my heart hurt so much while reading it. But there's also a lot of hope and Jess' grit to survive no matter the setbacks also filled my heart.
"They think I'm wounded, but there is a difference between a wound and a scar. I’m done bleeding. I’m tougher now."
I love the main character Jess so much. She's had such a hard time and things only get worse as the book progresses, but despite everything she doesn't lose hope. She doesn't succumb to the despair of the situation, but she also does her best to not push herself and her injuries too far.

This book has disability representation and challenges the "just do things to get better" mentality of her ableist father. She was injured badly in the car accident that killed her mother and lead to her needing to move in with her survivalist father.
"The air hums and shivers with the sound of the engine. It works it’s way down into my breastbone and speeds up my heart until it beats like a hummingbirds wings."<?i>
Marshall is a master with words and a self-proclaimed genre magpie, the latter phrase I totally get now. This book and Rules for Vanishing are completely different genres, but she's able to craft tension filled narratives and paint pictures for all of your senses. I was anxious as hell. But with the tension, the sense of isolation and loneliness that Jess experiences oozes from the page.

I really enjoyed the narrative structure of the book. It's told in two timelines: before and after, woven together in alternating chapters until she catches up with the present around a third of the way into the book. This structure contributed to the anxiety because you don't know what exactly happened to leave her stranded in the middle of the wilderness.

Overall, I Am Still Alive is a stunning debut novel that more people should read. Marshall is an incredibly talented writer whose place on my instant buy list is secured.

Content warnings: Animal death, death of a parent, hunting and related survival activities, murder

Initial thoughts: I’m going to need a freaking minute to recover.
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Profile Image for Aura.
774 reviews66 followers
July 26, 2018
"I am still alive" is Jess' mantra as she finds herself in the middle of the Alaskan or Canadian woods. She is in not sure exactly where she is. Everyone she loves is dead and no one is looking for her except maybe some bad guys. This is one of my favorite YA novel so far this year. I like that Jess has physical limitations and she is really not experienced on how to survive in the wilderness by herself. Yet, she perseveres even though she has many setbacks and nearly dies 10 times over. I loved reading this novel as an adult and I think teens would love this novel too. I received an ARC e-book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I think this was a fast exciting book that will appeal to all readers. I loved it and I cant wait to read more from Kate Alice Marshall
Profile Image for Amanda.
122 reviews541 followers
July 26, 2018
4.5 stars

**I received an ARC from Penguin in exchange for honest review**

YA Suspence/thriller/survival story
TW: blood & animal deaths

Full review on my channel : https://youtu.be/lnF2dJ58L2Y
Profile Image for ᒪᗴᗩᕼ .
1,558 reviews152 followers
January 25, 2020



At its heart, this is a survival story, but it also has a subplot consisting of revenge.

Jess, is 16 (turns 17 during the course of her survival/revenge tour), and she is like most teenagers these days...whiny and not always thinking of the big picture, or even able to learn from her mistakes. She also just lost her Mom, in a car accident that left her with a serious leg injury, which in my book, gives her reason to whine. Doesn't mean I want to listen to it...but hey...either way, the narration by Amy McFadden is excellent, and I definitely recommend this in Audio format. She makes the whining and complaining more bearable.

Overall, a compelling story, not always completely believable, but what do I know about surviving off the grid, other than I probably wouldn't have survived something like this, myself. There is a dog in this, Bo, and he is the Hero of the book because without him Jess wouldn't have survived...and I'll just say the ending killed me a little bit.



Plot⇢ 4/5
Characters⇢ 3.7/5
The Feels⇢ 4/5
Pacing⇢ 4/5
Addictiveness⇢ 4/5
Theme or Tone⇢ 3.7/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇢ 4/5
World-Building⇢ 4/5
Originality⇢ 4.5/5
Ending⇢ 3/5

Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 7 books1,212 followers
August 15, 2018
When Jess and her mother are in a car crash which leaves her mother dead and her with a pile of physical limitations and injuries, she's sent to live with the father she's never known in Alaska. Or at least, she believes it's Alaska. She's picked up by a man working for her dad and deposited with him, and that's when we learn that the cabin they're sharing will be burned down and Jess will be left to survive on her own in this remote area.

Told in a before-after format for part of the book, Marshall's debut is an excellent, compelling survival adventure novel. It's well paced, and the setting depicted is rendered exactly how it feels to Jess: desolate, alone, desperate.

Jess's voice is excellent. It's the perfect blend of snark and grief, sadness sprinkled with moments of hope that what she leaves behind in her journal will help someone piece together her story when she's gone.

Note: there's a dog and the dog will die. It's sad, but for the plot, it makes sense and doesn't feel manipulative. There are also some men who die, but that's not really sad because they deserved it and that also does not feel manipulative.
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