5 Books With Survival Themes

I’ve been wanting to join a weekly meme for a little while, and I found Top 5 Saturday led by Mandy @ Devouring Books! So without further ado, here I go!


  • Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
  • Tag the original post (This one!)

Books with Survival Themes

I’m going to do something a little unexpected. I don’t read a lot books that are of the ‘survival’ genre, you know, man v nature and all that. So I’m going to stretch that definition of survival to include other themes! Here we go! (And btw, all covers link to Goodreads!)

Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster is all about surviving illness, or more specifically surviving Sleeping Sickness. The main character, Sev, is shunned in her society because her mother released Sleeping Sickness into the world—by injecting it into Sev first. The fictional depiction of Sleeping Sickness is terrifying (it is based loosely on a real illness), as it can lead to hallucinations and violent compulsions. Can she survive the sickness and find the cure? You’ll have to read the series to find out! (Last book in the trilogy comes out this month!)

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman is all about surviving self-destruction (aka revenge, guilt, etc.) This YA western centers on Kate, whose father was hanged by a gang called the Rose Riders. She aims to kill the leader to avenge her father. Yet, her goal to get revenge takes her on a road that nearly destroys her and her allies. There’s also themes of surviving the wilderness, as this is a western set in Arizona, but that theme isn’t focused on nearly as much. My review is coming soon!

Reactive by Becky Moynihan is all about surviving her society. Lune just wants to escape her unjust society, and the only way to do that is to win the Elite Trials, a brutal game of survival of the fittest. You can read my full review here.

Wall of Crosses by Baj Goodson is all about surviving family relationships. Jacob and Andy Tamblyn are forced to clean out Jacob’s grandfather’s house with the rest of the family before claiming their inheritance. There are so many twisty and toxic family relationships in this book, and the two main characters aim to survive all of them somehow (and if you’ve read the book, you’ll see the double meaning in ‘survive’ ;D) You can read my full review here.

Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart really encapsulates ‘survival’ as a theme, period. The main character, Ava, is a burn survivor who lost her parents and her best friend/cousin in a tragic house fire. Ava has to survive going back to high school, making new friends, figuring out her new family situation, and dealing with the prejudice she gets because of her scars. You can read my review here.

What is a book with survival themes (in the traditional sense or not) that you enjoyed?

14 thoughts on “5 Books With Survival Themes

  1. Great picks. Last Star Burning sounds good and I love the comfort of knowing everything already has been or is about to be released when I’m reading a trilogy!

    Liked by 1 person

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