Not If I Save You First – Ally Carter – Scholastic Press – Published 27 March 2018




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.

My thoughts

With Not If I Save You First, Ally Carter delivers a novel that is full of humour, survivalist adventure, a touch of drama, and a few bedazzled hatchets. Not If I Save You First is a stand-alone, and perfect for readers who enjoy female protagonists who are more than capable of looking after themselves as they battle the dangers of remote Alaska and the evil of kidnappers.

Maddie doesn’t know why her father dragged her to the wilds of Alaska six years ago. She doesn’t know why her best-friend (at least he was six years ago, now she isn’t talking to him) Logan never, ever responded to her letters. And she doesn’t know why, when Logan suddenly appears at her home in Alaska and then manages to get himself kidnaped, she would bother to go and rescue him. But that’s what Maddie plans to do: rescue Logan, return to safety, survive.

It was fun to return to the writing of Ally Carter. She has such a unique writing style and a knack for capturing the voices of some very unique teenagers. It was doubly fun to read a stand-alone from Ally Carter (though, I’m still waiting for Heist Society #4, no pressure, Ally).

Not If I Save You First has everything from grizzly bears to bad-hair-day humour, and scary Russian guys with guns (why are the Russians always the bad guys???) to best-friend feuds. There are laugh-out-loud moments and plenty of tension (both from the action and the simmering romance). And then there is Maddie. I loved her voice, her sense of humour, her confidence, and of course her skills. I love that she could embrace the skills necessary to stay alive, as well as the skills needed for maintaining a good sense of style. The letters from Maddie to Logan that precede each chapter help the reader to gain a deeper insight into who she is, what her life has been like these past six years, and the depth of hurt she felt when Logan never wrote back.

While Not If I Save You First didn’t quite live up to the mastery and perfection that is Heist Society (not sure anything could) it is a fun action adventure that teen readers will love.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

More information

Category: Young adult fiction.

Genre: Action and adventure, Survival.

Themes: Survival, Kidnappers, Alaska, Fighting, Assassination attempts, Romance, Letter, Friendship.

Reading age guide: Ages 12 and up.

Advisory: Violence – use of guns, knives and other assorted weapons to cause injury.

Published:  27 March 2018 by Scholastic Press.

Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook. 304 pages.

ISBN: 9781338134148

Find it on Goodreads