“Here’s what you need to know: When I get on that airplane tonight, I will never arrive home.”
Suicidal teen Jane Solis has worked hard currying favor with the doctors in her treatment program in order to earn the privilege of going home for the holidays. But instead of having a joyful reunion with her mother, Jane intends to imbibe a deadly cocktail of drugs in the plane bathroom and join her father, who killed himself five years ago on Christmas. Then the plane crashes on a remote mountain range, leaving Jane and glib snowboarder Paul the only survivors. The temperatures are well below zero, and food and water are at a premium. They struggle to find shelter and seek rescue, but after Paul is badly wounded and Jane has to go on alone, predictably, she realizes just how much she wants to live. The strongest part of the novel is the poignant section leading up to the plane crash, where Jane’s cynical voice shines with dark humor: “She’s from a don’t-open-presents-until-morning family and we are a blow-your-brains-out-before-morning family, so we don’t have a lot in common.” But after Jane and Paul team up on the frozen landscape, it quickly degenerates into a trite opposites-attract love story, albeit with some good, gritty outdoor-endurance detail.
Compelling start, clichéd end. (Adventure. 12 & up)