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I Will Save You

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,665 ratings  ·  354 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,
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Delacorte Press
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,665 ratings  ·  354 reviews

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Dec 19, 2011 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 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
Mar 07, 2012 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
Jan 09, 2011 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
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
sml for this book. so dark yet beautiful <3
Nov 19, 2013 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
Sophia Stanton
May 22, 2013 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
Diane Mankowski
Jan 01, 2011 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,
Jan 14, 2014 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.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jayden Ssemanda
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book that really pulled at my heart strings. There were big moments, emotional moments, that really made it seem all the more realistic. Matt de la Peña really has a gift with his ability to breathe life into characters. I loved everything about this book, especially the ending.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook-2018
I didn't see that ending coming.......this book will stick with me for a longtime.
Lauren Cook
Mar 04, 2016 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
Jacob Mattmiller
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
I Will Save You by Matt De La Pena is about a kid named Kidd, his love interest Olivia, and his ex-best friend Devon. Kidd grew up in a foster home type place call Horizons because of difficulties with his parents; that is where Devon and Kidd first met and became friends. Devon is a daring risky kid that has anger problems and mental problems. Kidd is shy and also suffers from mental problems. Kidd escapes Horizons because he does not really like it there and goes to a summer camp in a town ca ...more
Oct 31, 2012 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 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 16, 2010 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
Jun 05, 2016 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
Oct 22, 2015 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
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
I didn't mind the story, and the end was definitely a surprise. But the writing was really meh, and Kidd and Olivia were both super strange and slightly annoying characters. The back of the cover, summarizing the book had many mistakes in it too. For example it says something along the lines of: "Olivia had green eyes and blond hair..." but then she was described in the book numerous times as blue eyed, and at one point I'm pretty sure it said she had black hair. Those contradictions didn't chan ...more
Mar 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Farrell
Nov 08, 2012 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.
Aug 18, 2014 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.
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wow, I did not predict the ending at all, but I knew something wasn't right with Kidd's version of the story. I felt something important would be revealed somehow and it was. Quite sophisticated writing style from this author with well-paced mystery and psychological content. I also like how the characters are complex.
Nov 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
My apologies to this book, but I really couldn't get into it. The premise was interesting enough, but the way it was written was just... not something I had the patience for.

The ending was certainly surprising, and I did appreciate that little twist, but in the end, it was not enough to redeem the book overall.
Jul 17, 2015 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
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good YA lit about a boy struggling between his family's violent past and his present life as a teenage boy falling in love. I liked it and would definitely recommend it to my reluctant male readers as well as females because of it's love story component.
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Tristan Wade
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
My review is over the book “I Will Save You” and the author of the book is named Matt De La Pena. The book was published in 2010.

In “I Will Save You” the main character Kidd Ellison is a run away from a therapeutic home and is living at a beach called Cardiff and works with his boss/friend Mr. Red. He was in the therapeutic home because his dad has beat him and his mom, his dad left and came back every once and awhile for money and still beat his mom but not him, his mom wouldn’t let him in, bu
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Matt de la Peña is the New York Times best-selling, Newbery-medal-winning author of six young adult novels and four 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 ...more
“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.” 7 likes
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