My sister recommended I Am Still Alive with a warning that the dog dies so I spent the entire book worried he was going to die which made me way more stressed than not knowing ahead of time. Or not. I am basically always stressed when an animal is a main character.
But I’m not dead yet, and someone should know. Someone should know what happened. So I’m writing it down, as best I can. In pieces, because that’s the way it is in my head, all tangled up.
Jess is a regular sixteen year old girl whose mother dies in an accident that leaves Jess with a bad leg and deep emotional scars. The state tracks down her father, who left his wife and daughter when she was an infant, and sends Jess to live with him in Alaska. Unbeknownst to the government and Jess her father actually lives off the grid in the middle of nowhere Canada. While her father remains vague about his reasons for disappearing his past catches up to him a few weeks after Jess comes to live with him. While Jess is hiding in the woods her father is murdered by a group of men and Jess is left to fend for herself in the wilderness with winter fast approaching. She also has the added problem of the men who killed her father returning for the box they buried along with her dad’s body.
This book is described as a YA The Revenant which seems like a fairly accurate description. It isn’t a very enjoyable novel, too stressful for my liking, but it is well written and an interesting change of pace from some of the other YA books I’ve read this year. Jess is a well rounded, well written character but a lot of the situations she finds herself in border on torture porn. It also seemed incredibly unlikely that Jess could have disappeared to Canada without CPS getting alarmed and launching some sort of investigation into her disappearance. She goes into Canada with her father’s friend using her passport so there is a record she left the country but no record of her return. Red flag anyone?