Book Club Discussion Guide: I Am Still Alive

Our YA and Wine book club’s theme for May was survivalist stories, which is always a fun theme heading into summer. After a close vote, we chose to read I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall!

This will definitely be a fun book to discuss with a group, so if your book club also decides to pick this one up, here’s a discussion guide you are welcome to use!


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I Am Still Alive, by Kate Alice Marshall

Jess is alone. Her cabin has burned to the ground. She knows if she doesn’t act fast, the cold will kill her before she has time to worry about food. But she is still alive—for now.

Jess hadn’t seen her survivalist, off-the-grid dad in over a decade. But after a car crash killed her mother and left her injured, she was forced to move to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. Just as Jess was beginning to get to know him, a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving her father dead and Jess stranded.

With only her father’s dog for company, Jess must forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. Some days it feels like the wild is out to destroy her, but she’s stronger than she ever imagined.

Jess will survive. She has to. She knows who killed her father… and she wants revenge.

Discussion Guide

  1. If you found yourself in a survivalist situation like Jess did in I Am Still Alive, do you think you’d be able to survive it?
  2. How do you feel that Jess’s disability impacted her ability to survive in the wild?
  3. There are a lot of intense scenes throughout this story. Were there any you found particularly upsetting or impactful?
  4. This book tackles a lot of different elements from the survivalist story, to the loss of both of Jess’s parents, to her injury, to the revenge plot. Do you feel like this was overly ambitious for one novel, or were you satisfied with the way each individual aspect played out?
  5. If you found yourself stranded, what type of setting do you think you’d be most likely to survive in? Deserted island, desert, mountains, Alaskan wilderness?
  6. This story has a unique narrative structure where it flows back and forth between past and present events. Do you feel like that served the story well, or did you find it distracting?
  7. What are some other survivalist stories that you’ve enjoyed?
  8. If you were stranded in the wilderness with only one book, which one would you want to have with you?
  9. What are your thoughts on Jess’s dad’s character in this story?
  10. How many stars (out of five) would you give this book?

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