My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Published: July 24th, 2018
Publisher: Viking BFYR
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Survival, Action, Animals
After: 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.
Before: 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.
After: 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.
This is a decent story. I expected it to be about survival, and you know what, that’s exactly what it’s about.
Jess’ mother died, so she is sent to live with her elusive father in Alaska—er, I mean, Canada. Not that it makes much difference to the author since her idea of Canada is 10-months-lasting winters and lots of wild animals.
Look, that is not true, and I really don’t like when American authors – who probably haven’t even been to Canada before – use its stereotypical aspects to develop their stories. There’s so much more to Canada than cold weather and wild animals (which all countries have).
That irks me.
But. BUT. It is an entertaining story. It’s fast-paced, action-packed, unpredictable and actually very interesting. How could survival stories not be, though? Unless they are badly written, one is bound to be intrigued by the character’s ability to either get themselves out of or into trouble.
It’s not, however, realistic.
Jess is… TSTL. It has been a long time I’ve used that, so I’ll actually define it for you: ‘‘too stupid to live’’. Boy is Jess clueless. She even admits herself that she’s stupid multiple times, which sure doesn’t help shift my opinion. She makes countless mistakes and… doesn’t learn from them. Most of the time, she makes me laugh, that’s how ridiculously she is behaving, but other times she aggravates me quite a bit.
Let’s just say that I wouldn’t want to be stranded anywhere with her. Her dog Bo is adorable though and a faithful companion. I’ll take him.
So this is not the most memorable of books I’ve read in my life or Jess even remotely fantastic, but it did entertain me, and I do want to read more survival stories in the future.
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