Review: Not If I Save You First

Book: Not If I Save You First
Author: Ally Carter
Genre: YA, Contemporary/Thriller
Rating: 3.5 Stars

not-if-i-save-you-firstBasic Plot: Maddie and Logan are best friends. He’s the son of the President of the United States. She’s the daughter of the head of the Secret Service. Then, all of a sudden, Maddie and her dad move to Alaska, with no access to the outside world. Maddie writes letters to Logan, but he never responds. Then, six years later, he shows up in Alaska. Maddie is furious with him. But then he gets kidnapped, and she realizes that it’s up to her to save him.


1) The setting in Alaska. And while there IS snow, that’s not really why it’s cool. They’re pretty much in the middle of nowhere… a world so different from our own. (Unless, you happen to be reading this in an isolated cabin Alaska. But then, why do you have internet? Maddie doesn’t. UNLESS, you’re a spy with some fancy satellite connection. Then, if that’s you, why are you reading this blog?)

2) I really liked the opening chapters that are set at the White House. I love the juxtaposition between the “two lives” that Maddie has led. The one in DC versus the one in the middle of nowhere, Alaska.

3) Each chapter opens with one of the letters Maddie has written to Logan over the past six years. At first, this seems like just a neat way to show how Maddie has spent the lonely hours in the wilderness. However, as it turns out, those letters do prove to be plot-important.

4) Stefan makes for an interesting “bad guy”. He had some good points about him. But there were also some not-so-good points. (See What’s Not Cool)

5) The final phrase of the book gives us the context of the book’s title. (But don’t read it ahead of time!)


1) Re: Stefan. I didn’t understand why he lets Maddie and Logan talk so much after he’s kidnapped them. I kept thinking: “If I were Stefan, I wouldn’t let them do that.” I might have even gagged them. Maybe I’m a better kidnapper than Stefan? (Uh oh. That’s probably not a good thing.)

2) I felt the story got a tiny bit convoluted at the end.

3) People get shot throughout this book. Some of these same people don’t die. I find that pretty amazing… and kind of… unbelievable? Not that I WANT them to die. It’s just pushing my suspension of disbelief…


This quote comes at a time when Maddie is showing Logan how to start a fire in the middle of nowhere. (Note: Mad Dog is her father’s nickname for her. Logan also uses this nickname from time to time.)

“I told you, Mad Dog,” he said at last. He made himself meet her gaze. “I remember everything I read.”

(Chapter 20)


My rating is 3.5 Stars (out of 5) – Overall, I did like this book. I felt engaged pretty much from the outset. I liked the letters and thought they tied the book together quite nicely. It’s just a little convoluted at the end. (But for the ending, it would have gotten 4 stars.)


Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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