cover image I Am Still Alive

I Am Still Alive

Kate Alice Marshall. Viking, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-425-29098-9

Marshall’s striking first novel follows two parts of 16-year-old Jess Cooper’s life: before and after her father is murdered and she’s left to fend for herself in the Canadian wilderness. After her mother dies in a car crash that leaves Jess with a bad foot, she travels from Seattle to Canada to live with her father, who left them years before. He lives in a remote cabin in the woods and attempts to teach Jess survival skills, but she resents him, and they agree that she’ll stay there one year and then decide whether to return home. But she soon discovers that her dad is mixed up with some bad guys, and when they show up to collect their loot, they kill him, leaving her alone with his dog, Bo. To stay alive, Jess must summon great physical and mental strength; she learns to hunt, fish, build fire, and find shelter, but any mistake could be fatal. Marshall builds tension steadily as winter approaches and Jess plots her revenge. The diary format and Marshall’s immersive descriptions will hook readers into this exhilarating survival story. Ages 12–up. [em](July) [/em]