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If We Survive

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  1,439 Ratings  ·  257 Reviews
What do you do when a mission trip suddenly leaves you caught in the middle of a revolution?

Will Peterson is part of a mission team that has traveled to Costa Verde to rebuild the wall of a school. It's been a great trip-until a revolution breaks out just before they board their plane to go home.

But then it becomes a desperate race to escape: from a firing squad, from sava
Hardcover, 339 pages
Published November 6th 2012 by Thomas Nelson
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Natalie Shook 1. this book is for teens, and I think some adults would like it. 2. There's not really any romance in it.

This is my favorite book!

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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i read this because i was curious how christian themes would assert themselves in a survival story with guns and revolutionaries and the dangers of the jungle, and i was wondering how far the "turn the other cheek" and "the meek shall inherit the earth" would hold up in a pressure cooker.

better than you would think, but don't worry - "the lord helps those who help themselves," so this is not a "sit around and wait for divine intervention" kind of story. there is plenty of action, and i think it
Nov 19, 2012 Daniel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, thrillers
This is probably the most political, emotional, and intense action ride I've ever read in a Young Adult novel. Andrew Klavan has done it again with this stunningly beautiful epic that lays open the truth about some misunderstood politics. Here is the plot...

"High schooler Will Peterson and three friends journeyed to Central America to help rebuild a school. In a poor, secluded mountain village, they won the hearts of the local people with their energy and kindness.

But in one sudden moment, ever
Jul 05, 2013 Zora rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: young christian republican WASPs
Meh. It starts off with a bang, as a group of self-congratulating christian missionaries only trying to do their (condescending) best to those backwards brownish folks and meet their h.s. do-gooder credit requirement get caught in a Latin American revolution. There's a mouthpiece leftist among them who is shown over and over to be an idiot for actually having read up on the country before he went there (messages: books? fah, who needs them? Listening to both sides of a debate? only for weaklings ...more
Nov 05, 2012 bird rated it really liked it
I was excited for If We Survive from the minute I read the synopsis. However, I honestly wasn't expecting to like it so much. I went into it expecting a cliche Christian action/adventure novel for teens. I was so wrong.

This was probably one of the best Christian fiction books meant for young adults that I've ever read. It was really well written.

I'm kind of an action junkie. I read action/adventure books like a little kid eats candy, and I won't deny I read through this one at a really fast pa
Melissa McShane
In this YA thriller, five people go as a church group to rebuild an orphanage in a fictional South American country and are caught up in that country's civil war. It's an exciting and well-paced novel with plenty of action, and I think it hits its mark exactly. The main character, Will, is a realistic 16-year-old: full of uncertainty yet driven with a desire to do the right thing. Palmer, the group's pilot, ends up being their reluctant guide and protector as they try to escape the country, and ...more
Jan 09, 2013 Rachel rated it it was ok
This book didn't only get two stars for the writing style: I would have give it one but the author is great at telling an exciting story! I wanted to like this book, but couldn't avoid being very offended by the worldview offered through this story. As someone who lives in Latin America, I thought the story was extremely prejuidiced towards American views. The rebels were painted as evil: no consideration of their personalities or desires they might have to relieve suffering in their country and ...more
Well, I'm a sealed fan of Klavan's now. My 5th book of his to read and just as enthralling to me as the other 4. Nice to see everything tied up in one book instead of a series (for these days series can wear me out). Will is a very different character/narrator Charlie. He's at a different place in life, and has different lessons to learn of and about himself in his particular trial than Charlie did. I really liked that. I almost felt like I could relate more to Will and his insecurities/fears/la ...more
Actual Rating: 4 stars (+1 star for Palmer's badassery and awesomeness!)

This was a really good book. From the moment it began, it was high-paced, non-stop action. The survival aspect of the book wasn't boring for a second. Story wise, this was super well-written, with great and interesting characters, and a good narrator to balance it out.

I wouldn't call this Christian fiction, even if it's regarded as one. In the end there is no mention or acknowledgment of the gospel. Just a group of kids tha
Angela R. Watts
Oct 13, 2016 Angela R. Watts rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity-etc
Took me a bit at first to get into it... But not long at all, was just a little wary at first, with the characters and the voice and the way it was told. Caught me off guard.
I really liked this book.
At first it was like 'eh, OK...' but then there were just parts... Little pieces... Words... That were so true. It was insane. Those little bits had me shaking my head or nodding and they packed punches.
Great book. Look forward to reading more from this author.
(P.S. I'm sick, so I've been readin
Katie L'Herminier
Sep 23, 2016 Katie L'Herminier rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wall-to-wall books - wendy
Nov 03, 2012 Wall-to-wall books - wendy rated it it was amazing
SCORE! Another touchdown for Andrew Klavan! I have nothing but good things to say about this author's books. They are simply amazing, all of them. This is my 6th book by him and I have not been disappointed yet.
This story starts right off with a bang and just keeps getting more suspenseful throughout the book. I don't think there is a slow or boring sentence in the whole book. I don't think Klaven knows the meaning of the word "slow". Reading one of his books is like taking a ride on a new and
Apr 11, 2013 Sandy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, ya
Will is part of a group of teens going over to Central America to rebuild a school. They are lead by Pastor Ron and what they witness there is life changing from the minute they step off their plane. They think their adventure is over as they head up into the cantina to enjoy their last minutes with the locals and meet up with their driver, but something else is about to set their journey on another route. Thundering footsteps, screaming and armed men barge into the cantina and block their exits ...more
Melissa Wehunt
Sep 26, 2014 Melissa Wehunt rated it it was ok
In a nutshell: Ok, so I hovered between 2 and 3 stars. I think if I could take out the stuff that bugged the crap out of me, it would have been a pretty good read. But as it is, I really couldn't stand it. So... to punish the stars cause of my bias or not? Currently, i'm doing so. Just know that if I were a teen, maybe I wouldn't have been so bothered. And also, DO NOT listen to the audio... I think I may have liked this better if I had read it.


1. Adventurous - A group of teen and adult mi
Gillian Bronte Adams
Oct 31, 2012 Gillian Bronte Adams rated it it was amazing
When four American teens journey to Central America to help rebuild a school, they're prepared for the usual mission trip hardships - blisters, hard work, culture shock, and forgoing accustomed comforts like hot showers, cell phones, and facebook!

But when a revolution blazes through the country, it burns a bright red bullseye on the backs of all Americans, and what started out as a simple mission trip turns into a desperate fight for their lives.

This is the sixth young adult novel by Andrew Klav
Feb 23, 2013 Abby rated it it was amazing
Wow. Where do I begin? I love this book. So much. As I read it I really felt like I was reading some altered Call Of Duty story line. :P The action was flawless. There are some writers out there who just cannot write a good action packed book but Andrew Klavan is a master with it. The characters. Will was pretty cool. He was a neutral character to read the point of view from.For some reason I usually don't get into books that are written in the males point of view but this I liked. Jim was annoy ...more
Jen  (Today in Jen's Library)
Dude, that was intense.

This is the story of Will Peterson, an average 16-year old sophomore in high school. He goes on a mission trip with his school and church friends to build a wall for a school in Costa Verde, a fictional country in Central America. On the last day of their trip a revolution breaks out. What follows is their struggle to stay alive and get back home.

Klavan is smart to tell the story through Will's narrative. He begins by describing each member of the team. This works especial
Anne Hamilton
Aug 08, 2015 Anne Hamilton rated it really liked it
YA adventure thriller which is a genuine page-turner. I don't call many books that, but this action-packed plot really didn't let up on the tension. Will and his friends have gone with Pastor Ron to a small Central American country to help rebuild a school. It's a short-term Christian mission trip but their motives are as mixed as their personalities.

After the explosive beginning - when Mendoza kills the waiter while they're waiting in the cantina at the end of the trip - it's all roaring actio
Tre Bennett
Sep 21, 2016 Tre Bennett rated it it was amazing
Will Peterson and his friends are taking a trip to Costa Verdes to rebuild a wall for a school. As they are about to board their plane home, a revolution sweeps through Costa Verdes. A rebel leader named Mendoza is executing the people of Costa Verdes and Americans are to be the first ones to die. Will and his friends encounter the firing squad, The animals of the jungle, Mendoza, and rebels that are all hunting them. Along with a warrior who might dump them any moment, Will and his friends fig ...more
Nov 16, 2012 Melanie rated it it was amazing
Review on Amazon:
Review on my blog (to be posted 11/24):

If We Survive is the third book I've read by Andrew Klavan (the first two being The Last Thing I Remember and The Long Way Home) and definitely my favorite so far! It was a thrilling ride and held my attention throughout!

I loved how realistic the characters were - one in particular was very dramatic and got upset a lot (to the point of being annoying), but giv
Amelia Loken
Awesome contemporary adventure! Soooo Good! Four kids and their youth pastor are on a mission trip in Central America when a coup d'etat erupts and all heck breaks loose. A wily revolutionary tracks them though the jungle and their only hope is their slightly amoral tour driver...who happens to be a former U.S.Marine.

The protagonist, a 16yr old boy, Will, is so well written, I totally felt like he was real.

Lots of action and gun violence but not gratuitous our nasty. Will talks about how pretend
Oct 05, 2013 Shawna rated it it was amazing
ARC provided by NetGalley:
If We Survive is an action-packed young adult adventure story. Will and his friends have traveled to Central America as part of a mission trip to help rebuild a village schoolhouse. While they are there, rebel forces stage an attempt to overthrow the country's government. The story follows Will and his friends as they attempt to escape the country. They are joined by an ex-Marine who has a secretive past that comes to light during the story. This book was quick and easy
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It was a little slow for my liking. I love Andrew Klavan's book but this one was a bit of a let down, especially when being compared to the last Klavan book I read, Nightmare City. The characters seemed to get on my nerves a lot, until the end. It had a nice plot. I think the main,problems were the lack of connect between me and the characters and the pace of the story. Still a good book though.
Aug 19, 2015 A.J. rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. My biggest complaint: there were a few elements that got repeated quite a bit throughout the book. I think these were some themes and ideas that Mr. Klavan really wanted to call attention to, so I understand why he did that. And since the point of view of the book was a sixteen year old boy, it didn't feel unrealistic that such a narrator would repeat things in that way.

All in all a good book. Klavan's writing, as always, is pretty inspiring for me.
Hannah Rodriguez
Jul 28, 2016 Hannah Rodriguez rated it liked it
It was good. (3.5 stars but goodreads doesn't have halves :p)
The story was suspenseful and kept me up late but I felt the ending was weak? And the characters could have been a little better developed.... like I felt like they were always on the run and never got to breath and a chance for me to connect.
Which kept me on edge.
But Palmer was a complete jerk turned into a nicer guy. People died in the first three pages.
Over all it was good.
Sara Bennett
Dec 23, 2013 Sara Bennett rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, adventure, thriller
It's a good action book as Andrew Klavan really knows how to write a good thriller. I also enjoyed the setting and the characters. I believe it took me a little while to get into it, but not that long :) If you're looking for a good, Christian thriller this book and this author are the ones to pick.
Oct 30, 2012 Anna rated it really liked it
This was an interesting read about a group of teens and adults who go on a mission trip to Costa Verdes to build a wall for school, but as they prepare to go home they get held up in a Cantina by a man and his gang. They are not sure if they will be able to get home alive. This is a fast pace action/adventure read that I think a lot of teens will enjoy.
Aug 28, 2014 Lou rated it it was amazing
This was... I don't know how to describe it...
I loved everything about this book. It had good pace, suspense and a lot of action. But the ending was so unfair because I wanted to read more!!!
But with every book I'm kind of lovin' Andrew Klavan more and more.
Tom Blubaugh
Apr 26, 2013 Tom Blubaugh rated it it was amazing
I love Andrew Klavan's writing. Suspense from start to finish. Very family friendly.
Jun 30, 2013 Damali rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: John Marsden, "Toy Soldiers" fans
American kids on a mission trip to Costa Verde find themselves in the middle of a civil war. Loved it!
Mar 17, 2015 Jane rated it did not like it
skewed worldview with caricatures and stereotyped action. know exactly how this will end. the 4th grade reading level doesn't help create any interest either.
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If We Survive 5 11 Dec 24, 2013 11:03PM  
Christian Fiction...: ❀Abbi and Melanie❀ If We Survive by Andrew Klavan 36 7 Nov 23, 2012 04:52AM  
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“Good things might happen in your life or bad things might happen, sometimes terrible things, but no matter what happens, your soul is your own. And no one and nothing can stop you.” 10 likes
“It's too bad you can't always live as if it were the last moment of your life. Because, you know, it might be-it might really be. And if we could really see it that way, really live like that, I think we'd all feel a lot differently about everything.” 9 likes
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