Not If I Save You First Review

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Ally Carter has done it again with an amazing book that not only depicts a new story, but engulfs the reader into a world that seems quite familiar. Known for her series of Gallagher Girls and Heist Society; this book reads just exactly as you’d expect it to from the New York Times Bestselling Author.

We had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of Not If I Save You First by the renowned writer, and enjoyed every minute of it and read it in a full day. As someone who has been a fan of Ally Carter since the early 2000s, I can say this book is practically perfect in every way.

Spoilers Ahead, Read with Caution!

Beginning of Story

The story begins in the DC, and most notoriously the White House where young Logan is the first-son to his father being the POTUS and his mother being the first-lady; and a young girl named Maddie Manchester, whose father is Michael and also the head of the Secret Service.

From the start you can tell Maddie and Logan have a very close relationship, where they spend most of their time together in the safety of the White House, but this particular night and ball-like event holds sinister events that the children could never imagine. Maddie and Logan are wandering the building staying out-of-the-way when they find Russians running around with Wolf tattoos, and spy a group trying to kidnap the first-lady, and Logan’s mother.

As Logan pushes his panic button, Michael comes running to protect him and is shot in the line of duty, while Logan is also grazed by a bullet. Luckily the first-lady is saved, but this event changes the lives of both Logan and Maddie forever, especially when Maddie is taken to Alaska by her dad to get off the grid.

Going on Six Years Later

While Maddie has spent her time in Alaska taking care of herself and learning about the wilds, Logan has become a problem-child to the point when they’re both 16 he gets sent to stay with Michael and Maddie in their cabin. This sends a rift between Maddie and Michael, because Maddie sent him letters for two years and he didn’t bother responding to her. That being said, they still have a connection that grew in the previous six years that amounts to more now that they’re together.

Though Logan has a detail of two secret service with him in Alaska, more Russians find him and Maddie in the wild and attack her and try to take him for a captive hostage. This specific Russian named Stefan has dire plans that require the first-son, in hopes of saving his sister. Though Maddie is injured by Stefan, she is still more determined than ever to go save Logan because though he ignored her for six years, her family is in the business of saving the President and his family.

We won’t put anymore details of the plot here. Above is a rough synopsis of the beginning of the book, and surely shows the world that Ally Carter created and brought to life for us.

Specific Things We Loved

In previous Ally Carter books like Gallagher Girls and Heist Society, they had mini crossover stories that linked them together. Dropped in this book is the Blackthorne Institute that we all know so well from Gallagher Girls, and leads us to believe this happens in the same universe as both of the famous book series.

In addition, Ally Carter embraces she-power and shows that although Maddie grew up in Alaska for six years roughing it out, she’s still a girl and has the power over almost any situation. One minute she can be talking about nail polish and her cuticles, and the next drop-kicking a Russian and taking his gun. She knows how to play situations to make her seem like a typical 16-year old girl, making the men certainly underestimate her.

Our Verdict

We absolutely fell in love with this story and the new Alaska/DC world that Ally gave us that just might be in the same universe as her other popular series. The story of Logan and Maddie struggling to survive in the frozen wilds of Alaska with threatening Russians on their tail is a new type of adventure from Carter that is brilliant and clever, with twists along the way. As long time fans of Ally Carter we only wish the book wasn’t a one-shot and would have more adventures with this phenomenal duo.

You can purchase Not If I Save You First from Amazon on March 27th 2018 when it releases! 

To learn more about Ally Carter and her other amazing work, check out her website here with details on tours, pre-orders, and much more.


  • Character development clear and concise
  • Very well written book with hints at other written works
  • Intense story/plot with twists and turns
  • Engulfing environment and story


  • Only a one-shot book, could have been a series
  • Michael Manchester barely has page-time
  • No last-name for Logan’s family (that we know of)


Character Development - 9
Story/Plot - 10
In-Universe Connections - 6
Length of Book - 8
Quality of Writing - 10
Re-read Ability - 10
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