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To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the…

To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party (utgåvan 2016)

av Skila Brown (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
807271,622 (4.03)1
A young survivor of the tragic Donner Party of 1846 describes how her family and others became victims of freezing temperatures and starvation.
Titel:To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party
Författare:Skila Brown (Författare)
Info:Candlewick (2016), Edition: Illustrated, 304 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek


To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party av Skila Brown


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Visa 1-5 av 7 (nästa | visa alla)
Nineteen- year-old Mary Ann Graves’s adventure west is told through poetry in this first person narrative about a young survivor of the 1846 Donner Party. Traveling with her family, she dreams of a new life in California, but must survive a deadly winter in the Sierra Nevada, facing loss and making sacrifices in a story of perseverance.
  NCSS | Jul 23, 2021 |
The map in the front piece is wrong. St. Joseph is in the wrong place. There. Had to get that out of the way. It's on the wrong side of the state of Missouri.

I have a morbid curiosity about the Donner Party, like many people. This book in verse takes the point of view from Mary Ann Graves, the second oldest daughter of one family who joined with the Donner party on the way to California. We never know the things we will do to stay alive. ( )
  readingbeader | Oct 29, 2020 |
This book is about a girl named Mary Ann Graves and her family. They were traveling west to California to live a better life. Unfortunately they got stuck in the Sierra Nevada during a blizzard and eventually had to resort to cannibalism to survive. This is a fictional survival story. Mary accounts the horrors of their tragic journey that involved death, starvation, cannibalism, freezing and treacherous terrain. Before reading this book i did not know what the Donner Party was but now i am interested. Its mind blowing to think that anybody was able to survive that. This was an amazing book that has so much detail on everything that happened. ( )
  JPham4 | Aug 22, 2019 |

Mary Graves and her family are heading to California to start a new life. Unfortunately, they become stuck in the Sierra Nevada during a blizzard and are forced to resort to cannibalism to survive. They are remembered as part of the ill fated Donner party.

My rating:


I loved how well researched this book was. I did quite a bit of reading on the Donner party after enjoying this book and the facts as I researched matched up to what I'd read in the book. I also loved that so much of this book was focused on the events leading up to the family being caught in the snow. The first half of the book is about the journey towards California and that was part of the Donner party I hadn't heard much about. I'd read books about the party before but they usually focused on the events in the Sierra Nevada and not on all that led up to the party being stuck there. It took a surprising amount of mistakes and mishaps for the Donner party to have the tragic results that are now part of our history. It was a dominoes' effect of bad luck and poor choices that ended up in so much death and if even one event had gone differently in the events chain, we would not know who the Donner party was because their journey would have been like all the rest of those who traveled west. Instead, we know the Donners because of their tragedy.

While I appreciated how accurate this book was, I actually wish it had followed a fictional character. This book follows a real member of the Donner party who was part of a large family. Because of that, the cast of characters we are supposed to care about is large and the fact the book is written in verse makes it difficult to connect to Mary's large family. This made the deaths of her family members less hard hitting. I felt sorry for Mary but I hadn't connected to the family members on a personal level so there wasn't the emotional punch to the gut there could have been if the book was told in prose or if the cast was smaller and I had more of a relationship with the individual characters.

I appreciated the accuracy of the book even though it is a fictionalized account but I would have liked a harder emotional hit from the story.

I felt like the book did a great job of showcasing the tragedy as a whole but didn't particularly do a good job of showing the impact of the tragedy on Mary Graves. When I pick up a fictionalized account of a true story I really want to connect with the characters and feel the pain they are going through and the horror of the situation. There are few true tales in our history that are more horrific than the Donner party and I just felt like the way the book was written put too much distance between the reader and the events which minimized the emotional impact.

I wanted more from this. I liked the content and the accuracy but I wanted more feels with this read. It is the difference between "this terrible thing happened" and "this terrible thing happened to me." I wanted the latter but ended up with the former.

Additionally, I didn't love the verse. The book is written in freestyle verse and I didn't think that some if it sounded all that great. That is just personal preference and I am not a huge poetry reader so perhaps a more trained eye would notice beauty I don't.

I can't really recommend this book but if stories told in verse are your jam maybe give it a go. There is merit to this book. I just wanted more than it delivered.

Can anyone recommend me a more character driven Donner Party story? I really want to read more fictionalized accounts of this tragedy but ones that will give me the emotional depth I found lacking in this book. ( )
  authorjanebnight | Jul 5, 2019 |
TO STAY ALIVE by Skila Brown tells the story of Mary Ann Graves and the tragic Donner Party.

Set in 1846, this young adult novel tells the fictionalized story of a young survivor of the Donner Party. Based on the real people, places, and events, Brown uses a novel-in-verse approach to share the hardships of the journey West.

Librarians will find this well-researched novel to be a nice companion to the many nonfiction works about the Donner Party already found in the library collection. Work with history teachers to create a class reading list that includes the growing number of historical novels-in-verse now available for middle and high school students. Students who enjoy books about survival will find this haunting, historical work to be a sober change of pace from other adventure stories.

Published by Candlewick on October 11, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher. ( )
  eduscapes | Oct 15, 2017 |
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A young survivor of the tragic Donner Party of 1846 describes how her family and others became victims of freezing temperatures and starvation.

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