I Am Still Alive

352p. Viking. Jul. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780425290989.
Gr 9 Up—Already devastated from the car accident that killed her mother and left her leg badly damaged, Jess Cooper is off to Northern Canada to live with a father she barely knows in a completely isolated cabin. Being in seclusion is part choice and part necessity due to her father's secretive involvement with a dangerous group. When men unexpectedly show up, Jess must hide in the woods and watch in shock as they murder her father, burn the cabin, and leave what they think is an abandoned scene. The only other person who knows about Jess is thousands of miles away. With the sole companionship of her father's dog and a few supplies salvaged from the fire, Jess sets out to do the only thing she can—survive. Chapters alternate between past and present, keeping readers engaged while building suspense. Jess shows strength in adversity, first from the death of her mother and then from her own will to live. Jess battles her father, the strange men, nature, and herself throughout Marshall's tension-filled adventure. Scenes of gun violence happen on page. Readers who enjoy postapocalyptic books will be rewarded if they try this more realistic novel.
VERDICT A gripping tale of endurance and discovery of inner strength. A strong purchase.

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