Alive by Chandler Baker
Age Range: 12 - 18 years
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (June 9, 2015)
Goodreads | Amazon
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.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.
Determined to embrace everything she came so close to losing, Stella throws herself into her new life. But her recovery is marred with 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 can barely stand to be apart.
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?
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!