The enduring power of glitter and pink, or my review of Not if I Save You First

BOOK TITLE

Not if I Save You First

By: Ally Carter 

Publisher: Scholastic

Publication Date: March 27th, 2018

Format: Hardcover

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.

  

4 star (griffin)

Ally Carter is an excellent author to pick up when you’re tired/sick of reading academic works/stressed from midterms, and her latest book is no except. Not if I Save you First is a delightful piece of ‘brain candy’, enhanced by the really astonishing setting of the Alaska wilderness.

The story follows Maddie, the daughter of a secret service agent who used to be best friend’s with the president’s son Logan. But after an attempt on the life of the president’s family, Maddie and her father moved to Alaska for unknown reasons. Maddie has spent the past six years surviving about as far from civilization as you can get, and bedazzling hatchets in her spare time. That is, until Logan behaves egregiously enough to be similarly banished from civilization–and handed over to Maddie and her dad as punishment. But their squabble (six years in the making) is stopped short by Logan’s kidnapping–and Maddie is the only one that can save him.

I’ll be honest, the beginning was a bit rocky. After the cutesy, ten-year-old-sweethearts scene at the very beginning, we’re knocked six years in the future to where a decidedly bitter Maddie is angry at everything, especially her once-best friend. There’s a deliberate lack of information at the beginning (why Maddie and her dad are in Alaska, for instance) that feels confusing, even if its in service to the greater plot. And, as cute as that little bit of friends-to-enemies tension is, it’s also just awkward.

Things really started to pick up for me when Logan was kidnapped. Partially, I think, that was because they both snapped out of that snippy, bratty thing and started being AMAZING. Maddie, especially. I mean, we all know by now that the other thing we can count on from Ally Carter, besides brain candy, is kick-ass women, and Maddie is that. She survives a fall off a cliff, tracks Logan through the wilderness until she finds him, and then hatches a plan to get them both free from the Russian. Not that Logan doesn’t step up, either–when he actually has responsibilities, turns out, he can actually do the work.

Also here is where I actually started to like them both as a couple. Maddie is amazing–a girly girl who knows exactly how to wield her girlishness, how to use it and how to hide with it. And Logan, after a few misguided attempts to try and be the one in charge, finally learns to trust Maddie and go with it. Not that he doesn’t have his chance for heroism, but I really adore that he’s her staunch supporter first. And that he doesn’t hide how much he likes Maddie, even though she leaves him hanging a little.

What made me enjoy this book even more is, just when I wasn’t sure where this book was going to go, Ally tossed in quite the plot twist. I can’t really say what it is [spoilers], but I will say that a lot of the earlier vagueness made much more sense. But it spun the whole book on its axis, in a really good way. And the book ended more than satisfyingly on all counts. It made me almost wish that Maddie and Logan’s story wasn’t over–but Ally has as good as said it takes place in the same universe as the rest of her books, so fingers crossed I’ll see them again.

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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.

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