Review: Alive by Chandler Baker

June 23, 2015 Book Review, Young Adult 3 ★★★

I received this book for free from From Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

AliveAlive by Chandler Baker
Published by Disney Hyperion on June 9th 2015
Genres: Horror, Thriller, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: From Publisher
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Stella Cross's heart is poisoned.

After years on the transplant waiting list, she's running out of hope that she'll ever see her eighteenth birthday. Then, miraculously, Stella receives the transplant she needs to survive.

Determined to embrace everything she came so close to losing, Stella throws herself into her new life. But her recovery is marred by strange side effects: Nightmares. Hallucinations. A recurring pain that flares every day at the exact same moment. Then Stella meets Levi Zin, the new boy on everyone's radar at her Seattle prep school. Stella has never felt more drawn to anyone in her life, and soon she and Levi are inseparable.

Stella is convinced that Levi is her soul mate. Why else would she literally ache for him when they are apart?

After all, the heart never lies...does it?

Alive is one of those books that might surprise you. The premise feels very contemporary fiction at a glance- a girl gets a new heart and then falls for the new boy at school. But then the plot takes a creepy turn as our main character is plagued with pain only the new boy can tame, and terrifying visions she fears may come true.

When we start the story we are in the hospital with our main character, Stella, as she is being prepped to receive her new heart, fear of what’s to come fresh in her mind. Afterwards we meet a girl who wants to fit right back into her old life, despite the opportunities that have now been taken away from her. She is riddled with tremendous pain at 5:08pm everyday which is medically unexplainable. Enter the new boy, Levi. They hit it off instantly, the pain being erased in his presence. But suddenly Stella is becoming someone she’s not. Someone who doesn’t take care of herself in the manner she should. Someone who doesn’t treat her friends, Brynn and Henry (my favorite character in the novel), very well either. I didn’t always connect with her but I also felt for her desire to make something of her new chance at life and doing so on her own terms. I spend a lot of timing yelling at her through the pages, thinking ‘oh boy, that’s a bad idea’. Which isn’t always a bad thing. I love seeing characters make a turnaround and learn from their mistakes.

I really enjoyed the horror type turn the plot takes. I’ve read similar premises before and this twist offers something unique. The visions that Stella has are super creepy. Her dependence on Levi to ease the pain was also disturbing as I didn’t know exactly what it was. He had this weird hold on her and it (he) freaked me out a little, to be honest. My theories? Wrong. I can’t say I loved the direction it took towards the end per se, but it also seemed fitting and I liked that I was surprised.

Though I liked the book on a whole, it just wasn’t something I personally fell in love with. There were great storytelling moments but also times I was dragging to pick the book back up. I think the book will surprise a lot of readers and I do recommend it for those looking for something a little creepy!



About Chandler Baker

Chandler Baker got her start ghostwriting novels for teens and tweens, including installments in a book series that has sold more than 1 million copies. She grew up in Florida, went to college at the University of Pennsylvania and studied law at the University of Texas. She now lives in Austin with her husband. Although she loves spinning tales with a touch of horror, she is a much bigger scaredy-cat than her stories would lead you to believe.

You can find Chandler as the books contributor on the YouTube channel Weird Girls.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

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