Whoa buddy, Survive by Alex Morel was the biggest surprise I’ve had in a long time. It pretty much came out of nowhere! I haven’t seen a lot of reviews floating around, and that is a cryin’ shame, y’all. This is a book that deserves to be noticed.
First of all, let me caution you to avoid Survive’s horrid synopsis. It basically tries to read the book for you, so unless you want to save a little time and skip to the end in two paragraphs or less – RUN FOR YOUR LIFE. (That being said, even though the ending was all but completely spoiled for me, there might have still been an ugly cry…)
So, Jane is on a plane that crashes. Not terribly original, I grant you. But still, it is a plot line I love. I also love when it can be carried out realistically without any Lost-style crazy business (not that I didn’t like Lost, because I did). Survive is a book that doesn’t need any time travel, smoke monsters or immortal gods to make you sit up and take notice.
Jane is such a complex character, and the fact that so many layers were built within such a short time (this book doesn’t even hit 300 pages, y’all!) is pretty stellar. She is in the middle of her “treatment” at a mental institution for being suicidal, and she decides this plane ride is the perfect chance to swallow some pills and follow the light. When things don’t go quite as she planned, she discovers that her soul carries a lot more depth and purpose than she ever imagined.
I’m not always a big fan of “issues” books, I have to be in a pretty specific mood to take one on. Because of this, I went into Survival with almost no expectations of loving it. And let me tell you, Jane definitely isn’t an easy character to love – but Alex Morel made me do just that. Even when she was sitting on the plane, feeling sorry for herself and getting ready to end it all, I was invested.
So, Jane can’t believe that she is one of the only two people to survive the crash. She also can’t believe that the other person so chosen is Paul, the seatmate that got on her nerves. To say this book is the opposite of insta-love is an understatement. But, factor in survival-based-adrenaline, loneliness, fear and teamwork? Cue in character and relationship development out the wazoo. Alex Morel, I bow down to you for working it all out in a realistic way that didn’t make me want to roll my eyes with disbelief.
To Sum it Up:
- Shock and awe – this was not a book I expected to love, you guys.
- Short length? Who cares! Characterization is still pretty darn fantastic.
- “Issues” book + plane crash survival story might sound like a train wreck waiting to happen, but everything just works. Trust me.