I Will Survive!

Staff PicksSouthwest Library

I Will Survive!

Young Adult novels about wilderness survival

If you were dropped in the middle of the wilderness with no supplies, no training, and no immediate help back to civilization, would you survive? These ten YA novels ask that question of teens.

When these characters find themselves confronted with nature from snowscapes to jungles to the wide open ocean, they must rely on themselves and sometimes a few friends, enemies, or frenemies, to survive long enough for rescue. For readers looking for tense reads in remote locations, this list will thrill and chill.

Be Not Far from Me by Mindy McGinnis
After discovering her boyfriend with another girl at a hiking party, Ashley takes off into the wilderness of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s not long before she lands herself in deep trouble. Having fallen into a ravine, Ashley sustains an injury and realizes she’s lost. Now she must find her way back to the trail before her wound becomes more of a threat. Also available as an ebook.

The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks
When Denver crashes a beach party for a boy, that her ex-best friend and other enemies are there suddenly becomes the least of her problems. A raging tsunami throws everything into chaos and the partiers into the ocean with nothing but a roof to cling to. Now Denver is stuck at sea in the worst possible circumstances and there’s nothing to do but tolerate each other and wait. Also available as an ebook.

I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall
The death of Jess’s mother means she must move in with her father, who she hasn’t seen in years and insists on off-the-grid, remote living. But the reunion isn’t a happy one and doesn’t last long. Before she knows it, Jess is on her own again, and now she has to survive in a snowy wilderness with almost no training. She soon discovers -- it’s not just nature that wants her dead. Also available as an ebook and an eaudiobook.

Damselfly by Chandra Prasad
As if surviving a plane crash wasn’t enough, Samantha and her fencing team now find themselves in the position of having to survive a tropical island with dangers around every corner until they can figure out a way back home. Threats of a perilous terrain along with wild hogs and a mysterious -- maybe human -- presence keep the group on their toes while they debate the best path forward and politics from home get in the way of getting along. Also available as an ebook.

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Formerly best friends, Zorie and Lennon can now hardly look at each other, which suits their feuding families just fine. But when the two end up on a group camping trip together, their star-crossed fate is sealed. Suddenly left to themselves in the California wild, Zorie and Lennon have an awful lot of time to sort things out -- or make things worse. If they’re going to heal their relationship, though, they first must survive. Also available as an ebook.

The Distance between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes
With a destroyed reputation, Hallelujah doesn’t expect the youth group retreat to go especially well for her. But she can’t imagine what’s really in store: After Hallie loses track of the group along with a newcomer and an ex-friend, the three are left to contend with the Smoky Mountain wild. In order to move forward and survive, however, Hallie must first heal. Also available as an ebook.

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby
Originally excited to visit the Everglades, Sarah’s expectations take a hit from the beginning when her classmates are cold. So when she sees a chance to get away for a while, she takes it -- but to deadly effect. With just a few others, Sarah finds herself facing the natural world of the Everglades with next to no tools and skills to keep her alive. And with gators around every corner, this is easier said than done.

The Raft by S. A. Bodeen
Some people may be nervous about flying, but for Robie, it’s old news, so a trip to Midway from Hawai’i is no big deal, even if she is the only passenger. But then a storm hits and the plane goes down, leaving Robie only with Max, a new co-pilot. Stranded at sea, Robie and Max must use their wits and their limited supplies to survive with sharks all around and nothing but a bag of Skittles to eat.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Natural competitors, a group of teen beauty queens find themselves lost and alone after their plane crashes in the middle of nowhere. With the contest still ahead, the girls aren’t willing to give up just yet, but they will first have to survive and find a way back home. And to do that, they have to find a way to work together, even as each other’s fiercest competition. Also available as an ebook and eaudiobook.

The Speed of Falling Objects by Nancy Richardson Fischer
Danny has already met plenty of adversity, losing an eye at a young age and being all but abandoned by her father. So when her dad, a survivalist show host, asks her to come along with him to film his next show, she soon finds herself on a plane over the Amazon. But the plane isn’t in the air for long before it’s crashing to the ground, and Danny and those who remain of the crew -- including teen heartthrob Gus Price -- must use everything at their disposal to survive the jungle, including the strength they don’t know they have. Also available as an ebook.