Friday, July 3, 2015

Alive by Chandler Baker {review}

by Chandler Baker
♦publisher: Disney-Hyperion
♦release date: June 9th, 2015
♦hardcover, 368 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: conference
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?

Review: Alive, for me, was a very mixed bag.  The idea intrigued me, the promise of eerie things going on after receiving someone else's heart.  The story rolled out in a suspenseful pace and don’t be fooled by that playful cover—this story is full of seriously chilling moments.

The hard part for me was the characters. I really disliked Stella. For someone who came so close to death only to be given a second chance at life, she is incredible bratty and unappreciative of her parents, her little sister (who certainly wasn’t at fault for being born as the “replacement child” as she called her) and her friends.  And Henry—though I initially hated that he thought Stella foolish for wanting to make up her missed schoolwork on her own instead of taking his offer to cheat, he did eventually grow on me.  Just a bad first impression.

The description of the excruciating pain that happens at 5:08 every night had me cringing. When she meets Levi, the pain mysteriously goes away so it’s not hard to understand that part of her draw to him, but he also has a sinister sort of stalker-like feel to his character, so I had a hard time with her nearly obsessive attraction.  I was grateful when Stella did finally snap out of it and started to suspect something off about him---this was about two-thirds into the story, and from then to the end, I really enjoyed it!

This author definitely knows how to do creepy—some of the hallucinations that Stella starts to experience were absolutely terrifying, some even a bit gory.  I really enjoyed the way the author kept focus on the heart through the entire story.  Stella was always aware of how her new heart felt in nearly every scene: heavy, hurt, fluttering, pounding---almost like a character on its own.   

I thought I had this one all figured out from the get go, but I was surprised!  What I suspected was happening was not what was going on at all and unpredicability is always a fun twist.   It also made the climax complicated and dark as far as what Stella needed to do solve her dilemma.

Though I had a few issues with the romance and characters, I thought Alive was entertaining and worthy of a read when you’re in the mood for a bit of creepiness!

Find Chandler Baker online:  Website  •  Twitter 

Purchase Alive:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon


  1. The cover got me! And I really liked your review. I might have to check this one out :)

  2. I agree, when you mentioned the description of pain...I kinda cringed here. And I dont think my heart took it well. But I like the idea of this - a YA about a heart transplant recipient. THanks for the honest review!

    Precious @ Fragments of Life

  3. Gorgeous review Becky :D So happy you liked this book. But aw, I'm so sorry it was a bit disappointing too :\ Not liking the characters much is not a good thing. Sigh. But yay for liking the story :) You make it seem so creepy. And I do love creepy. But I don't think I would enjoy the romance either, hmph. But curious about this book :) Thank you for sharing about it sweet girl. <3

  4. This is the first time I've seen this book and the first thought when I saw the cover was that it would be a cute contemporary. The creepy factor sounds really intriguing. Adding it to my wishlist )

  5. That's a really great cover! Thanks for the review, Becky!

  6. Liz @ Planet PrintJuly 8, 2015 at 4:43 AM

    I find it really difficult to enjoy books when I don't like the main characters, so I can understand why this was a mixed bag for you. Glad you enjoyed some parts of this book though - I do always like a good twist as well! Thanks for the review :).

  7. I've never seen this book before today, but the creepiness of the story sounds interesting. Great review!