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9781484706831_p0_v1_s300x I received this e-Arc from NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: June 9th, 2015

~ 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 flairs 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 definitely a unique book which caught me by surprise. I didn’t really know anything about the book beyond the synopsis provided, which is what drew me to it to begin with. Stella is difficult to like, at least in the beginning. I understand the incredible stress and anxiety she’s been through for the past few years. She had basically resigned herself to the fact she was going to die. In addition, her parents decided to have another child, which sent all sorts of mixed messages to Stella. However, the way she treats the two friends, Henry and Brynn, who have loyally always been there for her, is abysmal. Particularly Henry, who I loved. He is such a sweet character. He’s always supportive of Stella, even when she’s pushing him aside. Brynn is most practical and rational one of the threesome and has no problem giving Stella a much needed dose of reality. And then there’s Levi, who I couldn’t stand even before the truth about him was revealed. When Stella first meets him it’s not a simple case of love at first sight. This is more like an incredibly unhealthy obsession. I spent a good portion of the book wondering why Stella would be so attracted to him. Yes he’s good-looking, mysterious, and intense, but there’s something off-putting about him, even in the beginning. More than halfway through the book, the story takes an unexpected twist, which explains their rather creepy relationship, and the way Stella’s been acting. Once this happens, everything comes together, culminating in an exciting conclusion.

What really makes this novel work is Chandler Baker’s imaginative writing. Love her or hate her, 17-year-old Stella’s voice is perfectly captured. The details and pacing are wonderfully executed, and make this a real page-turner. It’s a great summer read for YA fiction fans who like complex characters and surprising plot twists!