Book Review: NOT IF I SAVE YOU FIRST by Ally Carter

Ally Carter delivers a mashup of cute romance and survival tale for two teens stuck defending themselves from a killer in Alaska. Not If I Save You First completely took me by surprise by how much I enjoyed the characters and plot when I expected nothing much besides gooey teenage love.

Maddie, the daughter of the ex- head of the Secret Service, and Logan, the First Son, were best friends. They were especially tight because their fathers are close and they don’t exactly have any other choice but to spend time with each other (due to safety reasons, of course). When a group of Russians– part of a gang called the Wolves– broke into the White House with the intent to kidnap the First Lady, Logan and Maddie’s father were injured.

Then, for reasons unbeknownst to Maddie, she had to heave her entire life and move to Alaska. She was strictly prohibited to use anything that connects to the internet and basically traveled back to a time when people had outhouses. Because Maddie was so isolated and Logan was her best friend, she wrote him letters everyday for two years just for some sort of acknowledgement or news from an outside source. However, Logan never wrote a single letter back. This became one of the main conflicts in the story for Maddie: overcoming Logan’s betrayal and abandonment.

In order to have an enjoyable story, we need to have relatable characters. I loved Maddie and how she adapted to the Alaskan lifestyle with her bedazzled hatchets and random facts that add authenticity to the book. She developed from a naive and bubbly child into a resilient and bubbly survivor. Same goes for Stefan, the Russian man who stalked the two teenagers. I won’t say anything more other than Ally Carter did a great job developing a desperate character through his actions and dialogue.

On the other hand, Logan never grew on me. I think the way he was introduced as a teenager made a bad impression on me. He completely disregarded his own safety and got someone fired from their job. He also had a vendetta against his dad, the President, because he thought Logan had no excuse to be imperfect after Logan was found to have eidetic memory. But this completely went against what I interpreted myself from the President making time for his family before a diplomatic meeting and hanging out like normal dads with Maddie’s father. I didn’t trust Logan.

Speaking of Logan, I think he infects anything he touches. The romance  (…if we can call it that) was illogical. I don’t understand where the sudden attraction came from, even if Logan has the most sculpted forearms and Maddie has the plumpest set of lips. Maddie’s interest made some sense considering she was isolated for so long with no male company other than her father, but Logan? I think it would have been better had the romance developed a while after the kidnapping for some camaraderie to emerge.

The pacing of Not If I Save You First keeps it swift with little lulls in the story. Even when the actions calms down, Ally Carter takes that time to expand on Stefan’s motives and the debatable “love story” between the Maddie and Logan.

Ally Carter created such an amazing and cute survival story that would seem to juxtapose, but actually blended beautifully. Maddie was an inspirational heroine who kept everything 100% real and sassy, and the Alaskan wilderness added another layer of danger to the already formidable opponents. If you’re feeling too hot wherever you are, this book would be a cool breeze of air (get it? ‘Cause we’re in Alaska?…I should stay away from puns.) It’s coming your way on March 27th, 2018.


Not If I Save You First hits bookshelves on March 27, 2018. You can preorder it via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound!

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Maddie thought she and Logan would be friends forever. But when your dad is a Secret Service agent and your best friend is the president’s son, sometimes life has other plans. Before she knows it, Maddie’s dad is dragging her to a cabin in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness.

No phone.
No Internet.
And not a single word from Logan.

Maddie tells herself it’s okay. After all, she’s the most popular girl for twenty miles in any direction. (She’s also the only girl for twenty miles in any direction.) She has wood to cut and weapons to bedazzle. Her life is full.
Until Logan shows up six years later . . .
And Maddie wants to kill him.

But before that can happen, an assailant appears out of nowhere, knocking Maddie off a cliff and dragging Logan to some unknown fate. Maddie knows she could turn back- and get help. But the weather is turning and the terrain will only get more treacherous, the animals more deadly.

Maddie still really wants to kill Logan.
But she has to save him first.

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