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I Will Save You

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,295 Ratings  ·  274 Reviews
Kidd is running from his past and his future. No mom, no dad, and there’s nothing for him at the group home but therapy. He doesn’t belong at the beach where he works either, unless he finds a reason to stay.
Olivia is blond hair, blue eyes, rich dad. The prettiest girl in Cardiff. She’s hiding something from Kidd—but could they ever be together anyway?
Devon is mean, myst
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Delacorte Press
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Carol Ann Absolutely. I could not put it down. Look for clues throughout. It was somewhat troubling, but quite good.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 19, 2011 Dana rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
"Everybody has a way they see the world" (21) - Mr. Red

"You should always tell the truth to people you care about, even if they won't like what they hear" (29). - Kidd

" skin felt warm and even though I hadn't eaten all day it felt like I'd never be hungry again" (53). - Kidd where upon seeing Olivia for the first time

"I thought how if two people see the same thing, at the exact same time, their minds probably store the same memory, even way into the future, and that's something in common" (
May 25, 2012 laaaaames rated it really liked it

So I know I'm not unusual--checking out other reviews here--for not loving this right away. It took me FOREVS to really get going. But once I did, I was sucked in, and I was racing to see just how bad things got.


I love the main characters in de la Pena's books. He is so great at piecing together vulnerability and anger and fear and hope. In this book there's so many heartbreaking moments--with the book's structure an
Angelica Perez
Apr 26, 2012 Angelica Perez rated it it was amazing
Have you ever been afraid of someone, tried to fight them off but they continue to come back, only to find out that it is yourself that you are trying to get away from?

Kidd is a young teen with a difficult past. He had an abusive father who's actions caused his mother to commit suicide right in front of him. Kidd was sent to Horizons a mental illness home for depression and post traumatic stress. During his stay at Horizons Kidd meets a man named Mr.Red who essentially became a father figure fo
Diane Mankowski
Jan 01, 2011 Diane Mankowski rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, guy-reads
The story begins with the end-of-summer specatular silver-shimmering California beach scene brought on by the grunnion fish riding the waves to shore. Moments after the beach turns silver, one boy shoves another off the cliff, to what surely must be his death.

Kidd tries desperately to escape his tragic past and genetic death drive, beginning with running away from Horizon-the place he's lived and received therapy since his mother killed his father and turned the gun on herself. Leaving Horizon,
Sophia Stanton
Jul 06, 2013 Sophia Stanton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
Can I explain my love for this book?


Kidd is spending his summer at the beach. He'd do anything to get away from his group home and the dark memories there of his past.
He's working as a caretaker at the campsite, and he'd be blind if he didn't notice Olivia. Blond hair, blue eyes, rich dad. The prettiest girl in Cardiff. He might even have a chance with her, too. Until Devon appears.
Kidd's best friend followed him all the way to the beach. And he's not leaving until he teaches him a few
Oct 29, 2015 K rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book inspired me. To be a better writer, to jump out of my wheelhouse and try something new. This book touched me, heart and mind. And if you're a mind and heart book lover and needer/must-have-both-to-be-engaged'er like me, read this and fall in love as I did with the characters, story, and words.

It had everything: intelligence, plot, flawed heartfelt characters, a great twist, and Murakami references (a brilliant, philosophical, metaphysical, realist poet (one rare combination) and a fav
Jackie Sarabia
Dec 08, 2015 Jackie Sarabia rated it it was amazing
This book took a while for me to get into. At first I found it boring but as soon as it started getting into detail about Kidd’s and Devon’s situation it started getting more interesting. Devon and Kidd’s friendship is a strange one. I love how they are the exact opposite of each other. Kidd’s past is really sad. For most of the book you are left wondering what his real name is. It doesn’t say much about Devon at first so he is this mysterious guy with a death wish. When Kidd meets Olivia, Kidd’ ...more
Lauren Cook
Mar 14, 2016 Lauren Cook rated it really liked it
Matt de la Pena’s I Will Save You is a young adult novel focusing on the life of a troubled teen who goes by the name of Kidd. Trying to put his past behind him, Kidd has been spending the summer at a beachside campsite doing maintenance work under the supervision of his friend—and the closest thing he has to a father figure—Mr. Red. There he meets Olivia, who he promptly falls in love with. To his surprise, she might even be interested in him too. Things seem to be looking up. Running from one’ ...more
Jun 05, 2016 Brenda rated it really liked it
When I first began to read this book, I was a bit confused.
I asked myself, "why did the author put the dramatic climax at the very beginning of the book?"

As I kept reading, bits and pieces came together. However there were little twists throughout the book. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING prepared me for literally the biggest freaking plot twist, mind boggling, turn of events, that it had.

Personally, I did cry while reading this. It hit me in so many ways, Kidd went through a lot and in a way
Jan 14, 2014 Cinda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, diverse
This is the first of Matt De La Pena's books that I've read; very strong character voice and a twist ending that sneaks up on you.
Mar 02, 2014 Runa rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 09, 2011 Aaron rated it really liked it
No one would wish for the life that Kidd Ellison has grown up with. His father was abusive, and his mother could not seem to find away to keep him safe. This ultimately led to him being in a group home called Horizons. It is there that he met Red, a former surfing star who would come to Horizons to help out a bit.

After some time, Red reaches a point where he wanted to offer to have Kidd come and join him in Cardiff, where he works as a campground maintenance man. The managers of Horizons did not
Dec 04, 2013 Claudia rated it it was amazing
Every book de la Pena writes is stronger and more original and more amazing. Ryan, one of my students who's read every one of his books brought it back (finally) and wouldn't tell me the twist, just that there is a huge twist. He was so impressed.

So, I did what I do...I read the ending. It absolutely did NOT ruin the book for me. If anything, it allowed me to read for the clues, and they're there. De la Pena has a master's control over every facet of this story. It's told in flashback (we know f
Jan 05, 2013 katarzyna rated it it was amazing
I Will Save You is another really strong one by Matt de la Pena. The only weak part for me whatsoever is the title because it gives me Nicholas Sparks-ian vibes such that if I didn't already know and love the author's other work, I'd maybe dismiss this as some generic romance novel and never think to check it out. That said, I hope other people are more open-minded than me and give it a shot because it's genuinely great.

I figured out what was going on with the main character before the reveal bu
Nov 19, 2013 Olivia rated it it was amazing
I Will Save You The Book That’s Not What It Seems
Runaway Kidd is escaping from his past, Olivia is hiding a personal secret under her hat, and a death driven boy named Devon is daring the world. These three characters are connected through close friendship and growing romance. Dark Devon risks their security through his reckless actions. Kidd and Olivia begin as friends and become close. I Will Save You takes a close look at the real problems teenagers face in
Shelley Daugherty
Aug 23, 2014 Shelley Daugherty rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book but I would have enjoyed it more if I had not figured out twist from the very beginning of the book. I really enjoyed the fact that this had a love story told from the male character. I would be happy if more males felt "ok" about reading books that have a romantic storyline and one that is well played out without abuse/drugs/drinking being invloved. This was also a very good book about accepting yourself and becoming more self confident.
Nov 16, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-fiction
I so loved de la Pena's first book Ball Don't Lie that my goodwill has carried over, though his last three books have not been nearly as good. This one sounds like it should be all tense and dramatic. It opens with a murder, and focuses on Kidd, a deeply psychologically scarred teen who ends up in a group home after his mother's death. He runs away from the home and ends up working maintenance at a campsite on the California coast. There are lots of interesting elements here - the after effect ...more
Jul 17, 2015 Grace rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I made the mistake of looking at the Library of Congress categorizations, so the one big reveal of the book I guessed 20 pages in. Despite this, there was still a significant amount of intrigue to keep me invested. Even so I thought the story was about 50 pages too long, especially in the middle. But, the characters were rich, and I enjoyed reading it
Jun 12, 2016 Maxx rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 08, 2016 Becky rated it it was ok
I never remember how much I hate teen books, till I read a teen book. They're all encrypted with secret messages as a way to help a teen through a hard moment in life, or they give you "someone" to relate to, so you're not "alone." But it's a book, and when it's over, it's over, and you are alone.
In the book 'I Will Save You' we're introduced to a boy called Kidd Ellison. Aside from having a ridiculous name, Kidd also lost his parents at a young age, living in a group home with nothing but th
Victoria Waddle
May 30, 2016 Victoria Waddle rated it it was amazing
I Will Save You opens with a startling scene as Kidd Ellison appears to throw himself and his old frenemy, Devon, into wild danger in an irrational attempt to save Olivia, the girl he loves, from Devon.

The danger that Kidd sees is not apparent to the reader. As Kidd finds himself in deep trouble for his actions, he moves through the past and through dreams and hallucinations to explain how he knows that Olivia was in serious danger--and why he had to do what he did.

Kidd has run away from Horizon
Feb 04, 2016 Marian rated it it was amazing
This literally went from a one star rating to a full blown five in its last 10 pages.

Ok, back story: I wanted to read anything written by Matt De La Peña after finishing 'Angels in the Snow' (his contribution in 'My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories'). What I didn't know was how difficult it was to get my hands on his books. It took me a couple of weeks and a lot of effort to finally find a copy of 'I Will Save You.' First thoughts: a. That's one cheesy title, b. This better be worth
Feb 26, 2015 Jordan rated it really liked it
My book was about a young boy named Kidd who was going through many problems in his life. For example when he was living with his mom and his dad his father use to always beat on him and his mother until one day his mother got tired of it and killed him and she had killed herself , so Kidd had to go to a camp were it is suppose to help him get better but it only making him worse every day he is there. He falls in love with a girls name Olive but in his mind there is this boy names Devon that is ...more
Jan 01, 2015 Beverly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 14-16 year olds
Recommended to Beverly by: YALSA/
In I Will Save You, Matt de la Pena has given us another powerful memorable coming of age story with a male working class protagonist trying to fit into a white world of privilege. Kidd comes from a violent family that imploded and left him to grow up in the system. He is determined to find his way in the world, find a place where he fits in and can start a normal life, and come to peace with his history. But as determined as he is, he does not believe those things are possible for him. Matt de ...more
Lizete Hernandez
Apr 22, 2014 Lizete Hernandez rated it liked it
I read the book “I Will Save You” by Matt de la Pena which starts off with the main character Kidd pushing his “friend” devon off a cliff. After that it goes back in time and gives events leading up to where the book started, Kidd pushing his “friend” off the cliff. Kidd is a young boy who escaped from the horizons, which is a therapy camp but he also tries to escape his past which he can’t get over about. When he leaves the horizons he goes to work as a maintenance worker in California with a m ...more
Ms. Schutte
Oct 29, 2015 Ms. Schutte rated it really liked it
Matt de la Peña writes really great character, and Kidd is no exception. This book starts off with a gripping introduction and premise, but what makes this book really great is the guy at the center of the story.

Kidd is standing on the beach one night when he sees his friend Devon up on a cliff with Kidd's sort-of girlfriend. Devon looks at Kidd as he kisses Olivia, knowing that it will make him angry, and it does. Kidd gets so angry that he races up to confront Devon and ends up pushing him off
Brooke Phelps
Apr 15, 2014 Brooke Phelps rated it it was amazing
This book is so amazing. I can't describe it any differently , I've been constantly thinking about writing this review , but it's absolutely impossible , when I read tins book I felt every emotion Kidd felt I cried when he cried I was scared when he was scared. I love the way Matt De La Peña wrote this book. I kiss the ground he walks on after this book! So anyways , I Will Save You is about a teen running away from his group home called horizons , he's battling with a difficult past and a diffi ...more
May 15, 2015 Jace rated it it was amazing
Devon and Kidd are “best friends” that have to go to horizons because they have depression and suicidal issues. Kidd escaped and now works with Mr. Red on campsites at the beach. Kidd meets Olivia and immediately starts to fall in love with her. Kidd is having a good summer, but his “best friend” Devon comes back into it to ruin it.
The author’s purpose in this book is to inform the readers of how hard some people’s lives can be. He shows this by showing events in which Devon and Kidd do desperat
Mary Farrell
Nov 08, 2012 Mary Farrell rated it it was amazing
My first book by Matt de la Pena--and it will not be my last. Amazing writing. As soon as I finished the book, I went right back and started reading it over again. I rarely do that, but the structure of this book is unique. A little off-putting in the beginning, hard to follow the main character's story and very frustrating they way he's acting. But the book is well worth the read...even a second read.
Austin Hall
Whoa! There are no words to describe how I feel, having just finished this book 15 minutes ago. NO WORDS!!! That said, I guess I'll try to articulate my thoughts.

This is the second of de la Pena's books that I've read, after thoroughly enjoying We Were Here earlier this year. I've read some reviews of readers claiming this book takes a while to get into, and I guess I'd agree to some extent, but it is so worth it. The slow burn of this 300+ page psychological novel is bookended by emotional inte
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Matt de la Peña is the New York Times best-selling author of six young adult novels and two picture books. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. de la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. He teaches creative writing and visits high schools and ...more
More about Matt de la Pena...

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“But mostly I remember every morning before school. How she'd say "Hey, honey!" just I was walking out the apartment door. And me stopping and turning around and saying "What?" And her saying "I love you." And me rolling my eyes like I just wanted to hurry up so I didn't miss the bus. I'd start going again and she'd say "Hey, honey!" and I'd pretend I was so annoyed 'cause she was wasting time and I had to go catch the bus. And how secretly it was my favorite part of every day.” 9 likes
“We only reveal what we want other people to know, right? It's like we create fictional characters for the public. And inside we're somebody totally different.” 6 likes
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