Cover Image: Help! I’m Alive

Help! I’m Alive

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Member Reviews

This was a novella that I quite enjoyed. Set in Canada, it follows the impact of teenager Jay’s death on the four main characters of the book. With alternating chapters, we see how his girlfriend Winona, his friend Ash and Ash’s older brother Anik and mother Pavan deal with the loss. Set in today’s world, it is very much the contemporary novella and at 244 pages it’s a quick read. 

Cleverly written, we get a glimpse of who Jay was through the eyes of the main characters, of course each has their own version of how they saw him. His death impacts the four differently-Ash, of the sadness of losing a childhood friend; of Winona, a teenage girl struggling with the death of her mother and her fathers new family; of the worry that a mother goes through for her child through Pavan and what it feels like be slowly sliding into feelings of depression through Anik. Towards the latter end we are introduced to Rose who is Trans and I thought she brought a breath of fresh air to the story as each of the characters deals in their own way with the loss.

I’m not sure if ‘Help! I’m alive’ is aimed at young adults but that’s who I would certainly recommend it to. A strong opening scene where Ash wakes up to find out the news of Jay’s death through social media clearly represents today’s world. Was the death accidental or suicidal? We don’t know but in each of the main characters, we realise that they are all dealing with their own feelings of hopelessness throughout the following months, yet the story ended on a positive note. I felt the author read very clearly the troubles of today’s youth and wrote it succinctly.
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Its important to add that there is a huge trigger warning with this book as it deals with the effect of a teens suicide.  There are four key people who we watch go through this.  Ash, (Jay's best friend or well former best friend) Winona who is Jay's girlfriend, Anik who is Ash's brother and Ash and Anik's mother Pavan. 

This is a very real and very raw book to read as it really tackles the aftermath of a suicide more so than any other book I've read on this subject.  Its well written and you can feel the loneliss, confustion and finding your place in the world.

Thank you so much to NetGalley for the ARC.
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This was a very devastating  book about teen suicide and the rippling effects it has.  Jay is a high school student who’s death is recorded and widely shared on social media.  This book is told from the perspective of 4 people in Jay’s circle; Ash, Winona, Pavan and Anik.  A captivating book from page one!
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Help! I’m Alive by Gurjinder Basran is a most impressive book. It explores the impact that a young man’s suicide has on those left behind. Whilst this is undoubtedly a difficult subject, Basran handles it with great care, respect and empathy. 

It is worth noting outright that in addition to dealing with the theme of suicide this book contains references to depression, disordered eating, self harm, some drug usage and one character’s experiences of transphobia. 

Help! I’m Alive begins with the suicide of a teenager named Jay, which was filmed but then since taken down from the platforms it had been shown on. The novel is written in the third person covering four different perspectives, Ash - Jay’s once best friend, Winona - Jay’s all but girlfriend, Anik - Ash’s older brother and Pavan - Ash and Jay’s mother. In each case they are trying to continue living in the aftermath of this tragedy and figure out what this means. 

I thought the multiple perspectives was a master stroke. The way Basran wove together the four different individual’s lives and their reactions to Jay’s passing was really very special. They each felt their own feelings, their own grief, confusion and each had they own journey to go on, in some cases literal as well as metaphorical. I don’t want to say to much about this as I think the story deserves to be read without too much being given away.

Whilst this book is about living in the aftermath of death, particularly suicide Basran is never preaching. She isn’t telling you how to feel or how you should react. There are no rights or wrongs here, the characters are all trying to find their own way. They are all flawed, but they are all very very human and isn’t that the point? 

This is a special book. It’s subject matter is difficult, but it is handled deftly. It is a book that makes you reflect. It will not be for everyone but for those who wish to read it I don’t doubt that they’ll get a lot from it.
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Help! I’m Alive is a book that explores the impact that a person's suicide can have on their loved ones. Jay's death is caught on camera and widely circulated, leaving those closest to him with more questions than answers. Help! I’m Alive is told in third person from the perspective of Ash (Jay's former best friend), Winona (Jay's girlfriend), Anik (Ash's brother), and Pavan (Ash and Anik's mother).

Help! I’m Alive is a powerful story that covers the difficult topic of suicide and it's aftermath. Though this is a work of fiction, the topic very relevant and this is a story that should be told. The book is heartbreaking and easy to engage with, and the reader will feel right along with each character's struggles. I found the best part of this book is that it covered the vastly wide range of emotions that each person experienced and the variety of perspectives, as there is no one way that a person "should" feel after an event like this. The author captured this concept well throughout the book. Help! I’m Alive is an intense read and one that I would recommend for fiction readers with an interest in mental health topics.

Thanks to Netgalley and ECW Press for this ARC; this is my honest and voluntary review.
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This book is quite a dark read at times, featuring themes of suicide, self-harm and loneliness. 

It details the far-reaching repercussions following the death of a young man, and is does so very well.
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This book deals with the aftermath of the death of a young man and the ripple effect it has on those who knew him. Essentially a book about loneliness, confusion and finding where you fit in the world the writing and characterisation are both well done. 
(Feat. discussion of suicide and self harm)
Copy received via Netgalley in return for an honest review.
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