STAND ALONE • 336 Pages • Young Adult
Publish Date *New Release*: July 24th, 2018
Jess is alone. Her cabin has burned to the ground. She knows if she doesn’t act fast, the cold will kill her before she has time to worry about food. But she is still alive—for now.
Jess hadn’t seen her survivalist, off-the-grid dad in over a decade. But after a car crash killed her mother and left her injured, she was forced to move to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. Just as Jess was beginning to get to know him, a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving her father dead and Jess stranded.
With only her father’s dog for company, Jess must forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. Some days it feels like the wild is out to destroy her, but she’s stronger than she ever imagined.
Jess will survive. She has to. She knows who killed her father… and she wants revenge.
Holy shit this book was good.
It kind of reminded me of The Martian (I mean, duh, it is a survival book) though instead of space Jess is stuck in the middle of nowhere in Canada.
Which to me makes it 100 times scarier because I may never make it to Mars but I can sure as hell get lost in the middle of the forest (might be able to get lost in my own backyard–though I’d deny it). And you know what, I can’t say I would be as resourceful or strong or patient or just pretty fricking ballsy as Jess is in this novel. And with a bad leg to boot? Raise the stakes and made me love Jess even more.
In the beginning, after her mother dies and Jess is forced to live with a father she barely knows, Jess was a bit moody and ANGRY. And she had every right to be! She is like every single one of us–couch potatoes who can’t go 10 minutes without checking the internet. Now take a 16 year old, kill her mother, take away everything and anything that is familiar to her and throw her into the woods with her nature loving father…
You can say she was a little pissed off.
But after everything goes down and Jess is made to survive… that is when the story gets real good and the character development flourishes. Kate Marshall doesn’t shy away from the ugliness of survival either–Let’s just say during the whole novel I didn’t know if Jess would survive or not. I was legitimately scared for her. Some pretty disturbing shit goes down as well that is morbidly fascinating, and some other things were just downright depressing (but in a good way? What am I saying?!)
The way the relationship with the father is portrayed is so complicated and precious and absolutely fantastic. I felt Jess’ anger to the core towards this man who abandoned her and her mother. It is interesting seeing the two characters interact and brings a spark to the story. Yeah, give me conflict!
I also enjoyed how the story is told in “before” and “after” chapters. The only thing I found distracting about it, is that the novel is supposed to be Jess’ telling of her story. Jess is writing down her story in a notebook so whoever finds it knows she was there and what she went through. So you are reading her story and you would be firmly set in the “before” story line flow when “present” Jess interrupts the flow by making a comment. It would have been helpful if her “present” comments were italicized or something to distinguish them better and give your eyes a visual cue. That is all. Not that the comments deterred from my enjoyment of the novel, not at all.
<spoiler>It also bothered me when Jess digs up her father’s grave (gosh, It may be creepy of me but I LOVED how the author WENT there) that she didn’t think to take her father’s coat/boots. I mean, yeah, you are dealing with a corpse but Jess was WAY past the giving a shit phase. Me thinks that Jess not seeing her father’s coat as a way to keep warm didn’t align with where she was at, plus it kind of gave me a hint that she would be finding proper clothing pretty soon.</spoiler>
I would have, for sure, died like 20 different ways out in that wilderness and it just always amazes me how these characters manage to rise above and laugh in the face of certain death. One thing is for sure, if you plan to take a trip to the wilderness bring this book with you just in case. It might actually save you, or at the very least keep you entertain until a bear mauls you to death.