Friday, June 12, 2015

Me on Alive

Title: Alive
Author: Chandler Baker
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

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 dark, tense, and mysterious. What are the secrets of the heart? It pumps blood through our veins and arteries, it keeps us alive. But can it do other things? Can it connect us to other people? Can it be controlled by someone else?

Stella has come back from the brink, back from the edge of living or dying. Saved by a heart transplant, she now has to return to high school, return to what should be her normal life, the life before her illness. But her parents are worrying that she's not going to get into university, she's behind on homework, and her friends feel just a bit different than when she last saw them. Then the hallucinations hit, the sudden and intense chest pains, and she knows that something must be wrong. But it's all in her head, yes? Her body can't be rejecting the heart. Is it something else?

Now, when a hot new guy appears just days after Stella goes back to school with her new heart, I was instantly suspicious. Maybe I've read too much and am just suspicious of any new character or plot twist, but I was wary of Levi. Even at the beginning when things were going okay. I understand Stella's feelings. He's nice, smart, he's quick to learn more about her, spend time with her. Love, teen love, puppy love, it does things to you. It causes your heart rate to climb, your blood to throb and pulse under your skin harder and faster than normal. In some ways it makes sense for Stella to equate her weird feelings to being in love with Levi. But the hallucinations? The lingering pain? Not so much.

I did like Stella's friendships with Henry and Brynn. They got along and argued like real friends, back and forth, calling each other out on their crap. Feelings were hurt, apologies were made. Hanging out together was enjoyed. I liked that they stuck with her, that they weren't about to give up on Stella. Even when she was way too obsessed with Levi.

While I wasn't the biggest fan of Stella and Levi's relationship and how creepy it gets, I found the mystery of Stella's hallucinations and chest pain to be interesting. Why always at the same time of day? Why the hallucinations of blood and death? Where did Levi come from? It took a little while, and I never liked how obsessive or controlling the relationship got, but in the end I found this to be a rather intriguing mystery with a hint of the paranormal. If you're looking for something like that, then maybe give this a read.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Hachette Book Group Canada.)

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