ARC Review ~ Alive

Author: Chandler Baker
Genre: YA Contemporary --> Thriller/Paranormal/Mystery
Page Length: 368 Pages
Publication Date: June 9th, 2015
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: ARC via Andye 
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?
There's something utterly captivating about this book that kept my eyes glued to the pages. I must admit that the synopsis is a bit misleading. This book starts off contemporary and then does a 180 switch to paranormal/thriller. I enjoyed this, but it might annoy others who don't know this ahead of time.

Stella Cross has a heart condition that she'll die from if she doesn't get a heart transplant. It's highly unlikely that she'll find a donor match, so everyone is thrilled when a match miraculously turns up and Stella gets a second chance at life. Soon after her transplant though, she struggles to readjust to school life and ride out the crazy side effects of her operation. I really liked Stella's character. She's got varied interests, she's funny, and she doesn't pity herself. 

Eventually the stunningly attractive new kid Levi Zinn appears and shows a keen interest in Stella. When she's around him her new heart hurts less. She feels alive when she's with Levi. The romance in this one was a bit tricky. I'm not sure if I'd call it insta-love, and it's a bit hard to explain without spoiling anything. It felt a tad rushed, but maybe it was just lust at first sight between Stella and Levi. There's also another love interest involved, but that didn't bother me too much. Besides that she starts to have psychotic hallucinations. These hallucinations are so messed up and scary at times. My one problem with the hallucinations is that after the first time or two, you can easily tell what's real and what's not even if Stella can't. 

Stella has some wonderful friends too. Brynn is the brash and honest one who you can always count on to tell it to you straight. Stella becomes pretty dependent on Levi and turns away from her friends. She starts blowing them off, especially her friend (and former crush) Henry. Stella and Levi's relationship is sooo unhealthy, and I really hated Stella's behavioral shift towards her friends after she started dating Levi. Henry is sweet and forgiving and a great guy!! I really liked him much more than Levi. Levi's mysterious and dark, the guy who does all the crazy things in life just for the thrills.

Just as I mentioned before, this book warps from a contemporary novel into a horror/mystery/thriller story. I found it highly entertaining as the story got spookier and spookier and the mystery evolved. My heart started racing, and I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and I'd recommend it to you!


  1. Awesome review. I really want to read this one!

  2. Oh man, this kind of annoys me with the whole sick kid meets boy and then suddenly everything is amazing sort of thing. Oh wow, the hallucinations sound really fascinating though! Sounds like you really enjoyed it Rach!

  3. This sounds really good and different. I don't mind the genre switch either. In fact I sometimes think that adds something if done right. Great review!

  4. The story sounds kind of familiar and alike to another book I've heard of, but I'm definitely interested in this book anyway! The fact that Stella has a heart condition really piqued my interest because I have a feeling there's a sad + shocking part in the book :P But I'm very interested! Thanks for the review, Rach! I'll look this up in Goodreads in a while!

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books

  5. Oooh. I see you raved about this book on Twitter! Tbh, this book wasn't even on my radar :)) So THANK YOUUU. The premise sounds really great. Thanks for your lovely review Rachel :)

  6. Ooh, this sounds really unique and entertaining Rach. I think I might have an inkling of what the twist may be, now I'll have to read it to find out. I don't mind a lust at first sight type of romance, because characters still need that initial attraction, but I'm glad you've warned me about paranormal / thriller aspects, which makes me want to read this even more. Incredible review, really looking forward to grabbing a copy <3

  7. Interesting that it kind of started as a contemp and then turned into a mystery. I'll have to check this one out b/c I hadn't heard of it!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  8. Awesome Review, Rachel! This one sounds similar to The Forgetting by Nicole Maggi, so I might look into this.

  9. Ooohhh thanks for such an awesome and in depth review Rachel! I can't wait to check this one out. I've been looking for a good thriller. My bank account is really about to hate me

  10. YAY! Very glad you liked this one. The author is so sweet and I've been excited to read this one. I'm glad you let me know about the 180 switch in genre. That's kind of like what went down in Sweet in Emmy Laybourne. I think I would enjoy it because the whole switch thing throws me off and then gains my interest.

    Great review, thanks!

  11. Wow, I am still undecided about whether or not I like contemporary, but if the book morphs into a horror/mystery...well, I think I'll like it, lol. Great review Rachel!

  12. It sounds really mysterious. I kind of imagined that she got the heart of some previous girl that loved Levi and that's why she feels attraction. I'm so far off lol.

  13. I have this one! I'm not sure if I'll give it a go because it's contemporary, and me and contemporary don't get along well usually. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Rachel!

    Fabulous review :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  14. There are some things that don't really sit well with me, but if you liked the book so much I may just have to give it a try. Great review, Rachel.

  15. I'm so excited to hear that this is part paranormal/thriller. I'm getting a bit bored of contemporaries right now - there are just so many of them! - so this might be right up my alley. This plus the interesting-sounding romance is kind of pulling me in. Great review, Rachel, you've convinced me to pick up this book :D

  16. Ah, this sounds a little too triangley for me! Henry sounds like a great guy, though! I always like a best friends romance.
    The switch from contemporary to paranormal is interesting. I'm not sure if that would bother me. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Rachel!


I read, value, and cherish each and every comment. Although I don't have time to respond to most of them, I make every effort to comment back on your blog! :)