Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Not If I Save You First” as Want to Read:
Not If I Save You First
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Not If I Save You First

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  12,767 ratings  ·  2,091 reviews
Bestselling author Ally Carter returns with an exciting stand-alone novel, about a girl stranded in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness with the boy who wronged her . . . as an assassin moves in.

Maddie and Logan were torn apart by a kidnapping attempt when they were young. They were only kids -- Logan's dad was POTUS and Maddie's father was the Secret Service agent meant
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published March 27th 2018 by Scholastic Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Not If I Save You First, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Cole Yup, it doesn't say 'and into a totally different life' …moreYup, it doesn't say 'and into a totally different life' (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,767 ratings  ·  2,091 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Not If I Save You First
this was quite a short book, so i will keep my review brief, as well. this was good for what it was - it was a quick, enjoyable survival story filled with action, adventure, and romance. whilst it had its highs (exciting premise, easy writing, decent pacing), it also has some lows (shallow character depth, some unrealistic moments). even though i didnt think this was perfect, i would still recommend it to anyone looking for an effortless, entertaining story!

3 stars
Carol (Bookaria)
This is a cute and adventurous YA story and I really enjoyed it.

Six years ago, Maddie, the daughter of a secret-service agent, and Logan, the son of the President of the United States were both ten and best friends. Then, something happened and Maddie moved to Alaska with her father.

Fast-forward six years and Maddie is still in Alaska. She has been living with her father, home-schooled, and learning survival skills. All gets disrupted when Logan is sent to Alaska to spend some time with them an
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
This was such a sweet and easy read.
Maddie was a girly girl who can survive in the worst possible wilderness situation. I know it doesn’t sound as badass as you would think, but this book put a new spin on being your best self without compromising who you are.
Maddie grew up being best friends with the son of the president of the United States but an unfortunate event split them apart, when they found each other, their friendship wasn’t as rosy as it was in the past. It took a life a
Trina (Between Chapters)
Just what I wanted from that synopsis!

A cute, quick read that you'll probably enjoy if you like survival stories. There is also a good dose of friends-to-hate-to-attraction.

Only downside was that Maddie could be super annoying. She was acting that way on purpose, but let's just say she excelled at it.

Content warning: Russian terrorists, being taken hostage, falling, violence, injury, survival in wintry wilderness.
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-2
This was a cute escape novel where Maddie, daughter of a secret service agent, and Logan, son of the president, are off in Alaska, when Logan is suddenly threatened, and Maddie’s survival smarts must save them both. Easy-to-follow plot, and perfect if you’re looking for something light and easy. I enjoyed Maddie’s sass, and bedazzling 😊.

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
Galley provided by publisher

I'd be the first to admit that I wasn't all that impressed by the last book Ally Carter released. I would even go so far as to say that I was a bit disappointed. This one, on the other hand, is a welcome return to how good her previous output had been.

Maddy Manchester is the daughter of the (former) head of the Secret Service. Following the attempted kidnap of the First Lady, Maddy's father moves them to the wilderness of Alaska, cut off from human civilisation, for r
Chris Horsefield
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable teenage/YA tale full of action, suspense and some great, sharp narrative. All the boxes are ticked here for a good, no nonsense escapist read with decent characters and great location. It's a fast paced read following the story of Logan and Maddie on the run in cold Alaska from Russian agents.
Overall I enjoyed as I like Ally Carter and her teen spy books. But it was not fantastic, just a good read.
Aqsa (On Hiatus)
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aqsa (On Hiatus) by: Brianna
3.5 Stars

Dear Logan,
Remember when we were friends?
I do. But sometimes, honestly, I’d give anything to forget.

Maddie and Logan were best friends when they were 10 but due to some incident, they were separated from each other. Maddie didn’t forget her best friend and kept writing him letters for quite a while but she never got an answer, so she finally stopped and forgot about the boy she thought was her friend until one day she met him again.

You can probably guess the incident when
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
I read this book for school which will probably surprise most because this is not an academic book. It's a long story but basically, my school does this thing called service-learning projects. This year our project was to read a book and then send a copy to an eighth grader along with a letter. I won't go into it here but I hated the project for many reasons.

Onto the actual review.

I tried to read this a lloooonngggg time ago but couldn't get into it. This time, I had a much easier time. This was
Adah Udechukwu
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
The novel was good. The synopsis (...the part with the president and special forces) raised my expectations. I expected more action, guns, bombs and so on. An Alaskan forest as the main setting took the pizzazz out the novel.
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
This is entertaining, and quippy, and a standalone. My immediate reaction was three stars. It's the best thing Ally Carter has written in years.

And then I started, you know, actually thinking about the story, and its inherent political implications, and none of it makes any sense to me. I'm knocking off a star for that.

Every single way in which you could possibly be spoiled is behind this spoiler cut.

(view spoiler)
Fafa's Book Corner
Mini review:

Trigger warning: Attempt at kidnapping, blood, and gun violence up until the point I read.


As a long time Ally Carter fan I was looking forward to this book! I didn't like her other series and was hoping to enjoy this standalone. Unfortunately I didn't.

It saddens me to say that I've outgrown Ally Carter. Upon starting this book I found the writing style not for my tastes. Somewhere between MG and YA. The romance wasn't enjoyable either. Nor did I like any off the characters.

Cute, quick read. More or less it was a story of friendship that gets lost and gained to move to love. Kind of found Maddie to be a bit obvious sometimes but overall an enjoyable read about two friends who get thrown back together after growing apart. However, they were thrown back together in Alaska which adds to the story for me because I love reading books based in Alaska.

My quick and simple overall: cute YA friendship book.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, stand-alones
For a standalone, this somehow managed to capture all of Ally Carter's strengths from her previous series! Political intrigue, high-stakes survival and hidden backstories, 'Not If I Save You First' would be a great starting point for people that wanted to discover Ally's books, without being intimidated by a whole series.

This felt the most real and gritty of her books, with people having guns shoved in their faces or rolling off cliffs left, right and centre. Of course, I had to suspend my disb
☆★Tinja★✮ A Court of Pizza and Laziness
Mmmhhmm 3.5 stars? It definitely wasn't perfect but I liked much more than All Fall Down.
It was entertaining and full of action.
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not sure why I keep waiting so long to dive into books that I fall in love with. This book is no different and I should be kicking myself for waiting 2 years to dive into it.

Not If I Save You First was an adventure I will probably never forget. In it, you will meet Maddie and Logan. They were the best of the friends when they were little but things drastically changed when an unexpected event occurs.

It kind of seemed like she moved to Alaska overnight with her dad. She was so little and didn't
Actual Rating: 2,5

Too much whinning and even though it had some surprises it still had some boring parts and not a lot really happens. Some parts are not well developed either and things that happens are sometimes really childish... Like... Really....
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I didn't expect this to be that good. I absolutely loved it! The pace was perfect for me. I never got bored and was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time while reading it.

I wasn't a huge fan of the characters at first, but the more I read, the more I loved the characters. Maddie is the type of character you shouldn't underestimate. She may seem girly (and she is), but she won't hesitate to protect herself and the people she cares about.

I also really liked Logan. I wasn't a huge fan of h
I don't quite know what to say about this one. It was enjoyable for a few hours of my life, but I also wasn't all that into it. I couldn't seem to get truly invested in these characters. Still, the story is entertaining enough, and the charcters are likable and intelligent. The main issue is that there was no suspense here. There was no danger. I couldn't fully dive into it because, in the end, I knew how it was going to end.

I think if I'd read this a few years ago I might have liked it a bit mo
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites-books
I've been having this book on my radar ever since I first heard about it when it came out back in 2018. I thought I had other books by Ally Carter in my kindle tbr, but when I check on my Goodreads tbr list. I realize I don't have any of her previous books on any of my tbr shelves which surprise me because I could have sworn I had some of her previous books on my tbr list. So I decided to check out Not If I Save You First in audio on overdrive and I was not disappointed at all listening to this ...more
Maddie and Logan were best friends when they were kids. Granted, it was under slightly unusual circumstances: Logan's dad was President, and Maddie's dad was one of his Secret Service agents. So when something happens that causes Maddie's dad to move the two of them to an isolated cabin in the middle of Alaska, everything in Maddie's life changes. She has no contact with the outside world beyond letters--no Internet, no phone, no anything. Just a tiny cabin, a few library books, and her Dad. Mad ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Entertaining, humorous, suspenseful and just a whole lot of fun. I listened to the audiobook which I think was better because the narrator was able to give Maddie a fun personality. Maddie is strong, silly, girlie yet knows how to survive and take down dangerous Russian men. Her Secret Service father has taught her well while living in Alaska for six years. Maddie's father is the head of the Secret Service who protect the president. Logan is the President's son. At 10 they witness Logan's Mom be ...more
The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
Review to come!
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I may be biased.

You know, technically Maddie would've been a perfect Gallagher girl. She's like the combination of Bex and Gracie. And maybe if Logan's father is no longer the president, maybe he could attend the Blackthorne Institute.

Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
A quicky read with lots of cuteness and badassery

More review to come...
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was sooo cute!!!! I could not put it down, I wish I could give it more than 5 stars.
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've been having this book on my radar ever since I first heard about it when it came out back in 2018. I thought I had other books by Ally Carter in my kindle tbr, but when I check on my Goodreads tbr list. I realize I don't have any of her previous books on any of my tbr shelves which surprise me because I could have sworn I had some of her previous books on my tbr list. So I decided to check out Not If I Save You First in audio on overdrive and I was not disappointed at all listening to this ...more
Tricia Mingerink
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ally Carter is the queen of teen thriller/spy/heist novels. So far I've liked every book of hers I've read (though Heist Society is by far my favorite).

While this one has some of the same political and thriller elements as many of her other novels, it is mostly a survival story set in Alaska. And in Alaska, there is a lot of things that take grit and determination to survive.

Maddie was by far my favorite character. She's tough, strong, determined, and can throw knives and hatchets with ease. Y
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
this was so great. it was fun and full of adventure. i like survival stories and i especially like when the girl saves the boy. i mean i wanted read this book because it's a girl saves boy second chance at love, best friends to lovers story sooooooo yeah it really lived up to all my expectations and i really need to read more ally carter books because this was great! ...more
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

I simply adore all of Ally Carter's books, and Not If I Save You First is no exception. Set in Alaska, it follows Maddie, who, apart from her father, is all alone in the wilderness. Once working on the President's security detail, her ex-Secret Service dad had to leave, and the safest place for his daughter, to him, was in Alaska. Never telling her why he felt they were at risk, Maddie has only
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Deep Water
  • Mascot
  • Lifeboat 12
  • Also Known As (Also Known As, #1)
  • The Naturals (The Naturals, #1)
  • The Girl I Used to Be
  • Killer Instinct (The Naturals, #2)
  • Little White Lies (Debutantes, #1)
  • The Long Game (The Fixer, #2)
  • The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
  • Squint
  • The Fixer (The Fixer, #1)
  • All In (The Naturals, #3)
  • The Benefits of Being an Octopus
  • Going Rogue (Also Known As, #2)
  • Deadly Little Scandals (Debutantes, #2)
  • Perfect Cover (The Squad, #1)
  • Impostors (Impostors, #1)
See similar books…
Ally Carter writes books about spies, thieves, and teenagers. She is the New York Times Best-selling author of the Gallagher Girls, Heist Society, and Embassy Row series. Her books have been published all over the world, in over twenty languages.

She encourages you to visit her online at and

Related Articles

From spies to thieves and now to embassy brats in See How They Run, her heroines are always a thrill. Get Ally's answers to your questions about...
35 likes · 10 comments
“Someone had even told him once that if his father hadn't been president, Logan might have been a good candidate for the Blackthorne Institute (whatever that was - it didn't even have a website), so it felt weird not knowing where he was or where he was going.” 13 likes
“But Logan had to laugh when he realized that he was the maiden in this scenario. And he didn't care one bit.” 9 likes
More quotes…