Oh boy, where do I even begin? First, you guys know I adore Ally Carter’s stories, and I’m so glad that this is a standalone, because I swear, if it wasn’t, my heart just couldn’t take it anymore. For reals. Ally’s command of the ya thriller is like no other writer’s in the genre. She is a master at it. And the story, the characters even the setting show that.
I was lucky enough to attend one of Ally’s signings a few weeks ago, and she explained how she was inspired to Write NOT IF I SAVE YOU FIRST. She was on an Alaskan cruise with her family when she spied the light of a cabin far off in the woods. One lonely cabin. And she wondered — who would live there?
That feeling of being all alone in a scary, things-can-end-badly-there, frozen woods never leaves you as you delve into the story. But, let me talk about the characters a little. Maddie, the daughter of the President of the United States head of security and Logan, the son of the President. WHOA. Does that ever make for an interesting dynamic. Add to it that they met years ago and that when Maddie is dragged, unwillingly of course as any teen girl would be, to the Alaskan wilderness, their friendship continues through a series of letters that we get to read at the start of each chapter. Okay, not quite a correspondence. More like a one-sided friendship because we never see Logan’s letters back. And Maddie, what a relatable girly-girl of a character, who grows up in the harshest of climates. I adored that she was still true to her skin-care-conscious self. A girl who bedazzled an axe handle and then threw that axe with frightening precision. I loved her from the very first page.
Logan took a little while to like. He is very angsty. Very handsome. Rather swoony and very, very loyal. That last part? That’s what drew me into their chemistry. Once they are reunited (in the worst of circumstances), the pages fly by. Ally’s plot takes so many twists and turns that I, honestly, stopped trying to figure things out, and just sat back to enjoy the ride.
When I enter a bookstore these days, the shelves seemed to be filled with thrillers, whether adult or YA. Do yourselves a favor and pick up NOT IF I SAVE YOU FIRST, because it’s simply one of the best told stories out there.