Monday, March 25, 2013

If We Survive

Stephen King called Andrew Klavan "the most original novelist of crime and suspense since Cornell Woolrich." Stephen King is a phenomenal writer, but he scares me. Consequently, an endorsement from him typically leaves me nervous and unsure what to expect. I definitely had a number of sleepless nights with If We Survive, but mostly because I couldn't put it down. This was a tremendous book!

Written in the first person perspective of fifteen-year-old Will Peterson, this book follows an adventure that begins as a missions trip and tumbles into a hostile national rebellion. Will and his friends, each with their own agendas for this trip, fall prey to a hostage situation. After narrowly escaping a firing squad, they face a deathly trek through the jungle only to be captured again. Too much like a video game and yet not at all the same, Will and his team fight for their freedom and the right to go home. Digging deep, they discover the roots and reach of fear and if they have the strength to overcome it.

The story is set in South America and touches on international politics, economics, faith, personal baggage and what it really means to pray and believe in God. Where and how does one find true peace in spite of a world that seems to be falling apart?

What I Like: The writing is amazing! Andrew Klavan created mutli-faceted characters that are realistic and complex. I loved the group dynamics. He's mixed some very distinct personalities into one small band and pulls it off beautifully. The suspense kept me on my toes (and awake reading long past my bedtime!) and the descriptions made me fiercely miss the missions adventures of my past. I could almost smell the morning mists and feel the jungle brush against my skin.Truly amazing writing.

In addition, I really liked that this book offered a solid faith foundation without being preachy. Readers join the characters on their journey toward understanding God and faith without being hit over the head with Bible verses. I think this book will appeal highly to today's teens. Personally, I look forward to reading more from this author.

What I Dislike: Absolutely nothing. Okay, maybe just the anxiety I felt over the endorsement from Stephen King. *grin*

Overall Rating: Excellent

Age Appeal: YA -- due to violence, I recommend 15 and up

Publisher Info: Thomas Nelson, 2012; ISBN: 1595547959; Hardback; 345 pages; $14.99

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Special Info: This book is also available in paperback, audio and electronic formats. Follow the links above to your preferred online retailer for details. Visit the author's website at

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