{Flash Reviews} The Survival Edition

Three flash reviews for you today!

In honor of today's movie release of LIFE OF PI, based on the international best-selling novel by Yann Martel, I wanted to give you even more survival books to read!
I've been wanting to re-read LIFE OF PI for a few years now.  Maybe it's finally a good time to do so in celebration?
Into survival?  Check out these three 2012 releases:

Author: Alex Morel
Release Date: Out now (Aug. 2, 2012)
Publisher: Penguin / Razorbill     
Received: Borrowed

HATCHET meets Lost in this modern-day adventure tale of one girl's reawakening.

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.
I coveted this book from the moment I read about its unique concept.  The novel revolves around Jane, a teenager who decides to commit suicide, and winds up being one of the only survivors when her plane crashes.  Why was Jane chosen to live when she wanted to die, and others who wanted to live so desperately sacrificed?  How can she live with the guilt that comes with this knowledge?  Jane is forced to look inside herself throughout her journey and figure out what she really wants in life.

SURVIVE has more romance than the other two books I'm reviewing today, though at times it seems a little forced.  I could have gone either way with this element, though I know a lot of readers will really like the addition of romance to an otherwise bleak environment.  Jane and Paul are also more prepared and able to take care of themselves than in the other books, which allows for less tense character interaction and more ways to develop and work together.  At the same time, there's a lot of emotional growth and internal development that result in far-reaching consequences beyond the initial attempts to survive.  While there are a few plot holes, I really enjoyed SURVIVE's concept and the way Jane is forced to look at all the shades of grey and change her outlook if she wants to survive.


This cover had me sitting up and taking notice!

I also like the way the color pink used for the author's name is pulled from her lips, and a pale shade that matches the snowy colors of the rest of the color.  And all the blue!  That icy blue is one of my favorite shades of the color, and I love the way it reaches up and frosts over the model's face, making her look so cold.  I also like the way the title SURVIVE is trying to break free from the mountains and, well, survive!

Author: S.A. Bodeen
Release Date: Out now (Aug. 21, 2012)
Publisher: Macmillan / Feiwel & Friends
Received: ARC for Review
Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight. The only passenger, Robie doesn’t panic until the engine suddenly cuts out and Max shouts at her to put on a life jacket. They are over miles of Pacific Ocean. She sees Max struggle with a raft.

And then . . . she’s in the water. Fighting for her life. Max pulls her onto the raft, and that’s when the real terror begins. They have no water. Their only food is a bag of Skittles. There are sharks. There is an island. But there’s no sign of help on the way.
THE RAFT is the book that most closely reminds me of LIFE OF PI. There's a plane crash that leads to the main character being stranded in the water, and there are dangers such as sharks in the water.

I read this right after reading SURIVE by Alex Morel, and felt that this book was stronger in the way it represents surviving.  Robie has almost nothing on her that can help her survive the way Jane did in SURVIVE, which creates even more adrenaline as you read and root for her.  There's also more detail that brings readers into the situation, from the way salt gets into everything to the parched feeling that makes you want to keep a bottle of water at your side as you read.

While THE RAFT has been criticized because most of it takes place in the water and there's not a lot happening, this is a story of survival.  If you go into it with that mindset, you'll be golden.  If you're in the middle of an ocean or on a deserted island, there's not a whole lot happening except survival, which is its own breed of action.  I never felt bored or like the story was lacking.  There was enough action to keep me rooting for the characters, along with surprise revelations that readers may or may not see coming.  There was also a little commentary on social issues such as the way the environment is mistreated, which adds an additional layer to the story in a way that works and doesn't feel forced.l


The model looks like she'd rather be anywhere except trapped on that raft!  It's so easy to visualize Robie looking just like that.

I'm also a fan of the font used for the title, both stark and functional, perfect for a book about survival.
Title: MAY B.
Author: Caroline Starr Rose
Release Date: Out now (Jan. 10, 2012)
Publisher: Random House / Schwartz & Wade
Received: Borrowed

I’ve known it since last night:
It’s been too long to expect them to return.
Something’s happened.

May is helping out on a neighbor’s Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it’s hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May’s memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she’s determined to find her way home again.

Caroline Starr Rose’s fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love.

I heard about this book a few months ago, either because it had been nominated for an award or mentioned when talking about verse novels.  I forget now; I read this a while ago!  I was intrigued by the fact that a book mixing historical fiction in a verse format had been written for middle-grade readers, which I personally haven't seen before.  Even more interesting was the fact that it reminded me of the Little House on the Prairie book series I loved so much growing up. 

I really like the way Caroline Starr Rose integrated dyslexia into her novel, especially in a time where learning disabilities aren't acknowledged the way they are today.  May B. dreams of being a teacher and works so hard to learn how to read like everyone else despite her frustrations.  She's a girl, and not as useful as her brothers, so she's sent to work for another family.  A tragic accident occurs, leaving May alone and scared as winter approaches and food grows scarce.  She's too young to properly take care of herself and frightened, but turns to learning to get her mind off everything she can't control.

MAY B. is great for fans of historical fiction and verse novels, not to mention fans of the Little House series.  It's also a great book to give to kids when teachers assign historical novel assignments because the terminology and writing style is easier to digest than Little House for many kids, yet still reveals the flavor of the prairie lifestyle.


You guys don't even know how proud I am of myself right this second.  I planned to come on here and tell you that the cover reminded me a bit of FORGE and CHAINS, both by Laurie Halse Anderson, and thanks to the internet, I just found that MAY B. cover designer Christopher Silas Neal actually designed both of those as well!  Yes, I am amazing.  Isn't he talented, though?  Go check out some of his work on his webpage

I also found a great interview with Christopher Silas Neal from Turn the Page, which shows several different concepts for MAY B. before the final cover was settled on.

Anyway, I adore this illustrated cover!  For one thing, um, it's illustrated.  I wish more adult and teen titles were illustrated, because some of my favorite covers are middle-grade!

I again love the use of the icy, snowy shades of blue, which are favorite hues of mine.  This is such a great illustrated cover, and that snowy scene is perfect for readers looking for a survival tale this winter!



  1. I read both Survive & The Raft. I can't remember which one I read first but I know I loved both of them!

    Paige @ Comfort Books

    1. Yay! Go us :)

      Are you planning to see Life of Pi? I might when it's on DVD. I'm saving my $$$ for Les Mis and the Cirque movie!


Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to stop and comment! I appreciate it more than I can say. I try to respond to each one!