Title: Not If I Save You First
Author: Ally Carter
Publication Date: March 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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.
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.
I picked Not If I Save You First up on a whim and it definitely paid off! I didn't really plan on reading it because I've been on this quite addictive Fantasy binge for a while but, I was looking for a Contemporary filled with cliches and a little bit of suspense! I'm talking about the good kind of cliche tropes that are used in a clever way and not rolling eye inducing ones! I was taken by surprise by how unexpectedly unique this book was! It is a Contemporary yes but, it's unlike anything I've read before and that definitely stood out while I was reading it. I literally could not put it down and it's been a while since a book has kept me up all night because of its suspense and easy to read nature!
The story itself follows Logan, whose father is the President of the United States and Maddie, whose own father is the head of the President's secret security service. They got really close over time and everyone in the White House is aware of their close friendship and adventurous mischief. When they're ten years old though, a terrifying night changes their lives and tears them apart for no apparent reason. Maddie relocates to Alaska with her father and starts learning everything about survival skills and Logan is left behind to pick up the pieces. Fast forward six years later and Maddie is still the only person in a twenty miles radius, whereas Logan has learned how to hide his heartbreak and how deeply the events of that night affected him, behind a careless facade.
When Logan's behavior and blatant disregard for the rules a First Son has to follow in order to be safe gets out of hand, his parents decide to send him to a remote location, in order to punish him and keep him away from his own harmful ways. Guess where that leaves us? Logan moves to Alaska to live with Maddie and her father after all these years and she's definitely not happy! They had no ways to communicate with each other and the letters Maddie kept sending in the hopes of getting a response for years went unanswered! When things go wrong though and she's his only hope for survival, the tables are turned and she has to save him first, if she wants to actually get to kill him! Not literally, obviously!
That was quite a brief synopsis but, I think we've covered the basics! First of all, the story itself was amazing! From the very beginning, you could tell that a lot of research went into it and it was more than well thought out overall! The premise was interesting and it just made you want to keep reading in order to discover what would happen next. I was getting extremely positive vibes from it if that makes any sense because it was just so easy to read! There were no slow paces and even though you wouldn't really call it unpredictable in terms of where things were going, it was definitely fast paced and suspenseful! The writing itself was great and even though I generally don't enjoy books told in third person narrative, things worked perfectly for this one and I got invested in the story right away!
The characters themselves were quite interesting! Maddie was such a force to be reckoned with and I absolutely fell in love with her self assurance and bravery! She's introduced as this intelligent and mischievous ten year old that never stops talking about the curiosities of the world and everything that's going on around her! Then, as the years go by and even when she's left to fend for herself in a place where she's the only person in a twenty mile radius, she doesn't lose sight of who she truly is and is doing her best to survive! Regardless of how unhappy she is at leaving civilization behind and settling in Alaska for no apparent reason, she's trying to make the best of the situation by adjusting to this new life and learning its ways as best as she can! She's also extremely resourceful, determined and willing to do anything if it meas saving the people she cares about! Her development was quite interesting to say the least and I really enjoyed how her true personality unraveled throughout the novel.
Logan shared a lot of character traits with Maddie - mainly intelligence, mischief and wit - but, it was apparent that he was more reserved and closed off as a character, especially when he was younger! His careless ways put him in a precarious position since they led to his isolation and eventually, his abduction but, he handles things pretty well in spite of it! I was kind of angry at him myself for not keeping in touch with Maddie and basically ignoring her letters and I feel like there's no excuse for that because of everything they went through together but, I'm really glad that things worked out for them in the end! The letters at the beginning of each chapter were such a nice addition to the story, by the way! Thought I'd mention it because they did stand out and revealed a bit more about Maddie's restless soul!
I have no idea if this is going to be a stand alone or part of a series - fingers crossed it's going to be the latter, though - but, I'm really glad that I decided to give it a chance! It was the most suspenseful Contemporary I've ever read and nothing like what I was actually expecting to come across when I decided to lose myself in its pages. I was immersed in a story that kept me on the edge of my seat and I loved how everything came together to paint this interesting picture of a secret agent's daughter saving the President's son! The vivid descriptions of the scenery and everything that was going on added so much more to the story and even though the premise sounds a bit surreal and I couldn't really relate to it, it felt pretty tangible and realistic!
Overall, I cannot recommend this one enough! The fifth star isn't there because the novel wasn't too unpredictable and didn't have as many twists as I would've liked but, that's nothing to obsess over because it's so much more than that! Hope you guys found this review helpful and will decide to give this one a go in the future!
Until the next post,