Ally Carter creates pretty kick ass teen female characters. Her other book I read was All Fall Down, (which is part of a series, that I have not finished). I read that one back in 2017, and I remember really liking the main character in it as well.
This book starts out pretty quickly where we meet the main character, Maddie. Her father is a part of the secret service for the President of the US, and Maddie is best friends with the president’s son, Logan. After a pretty intense kidnapping attempt, Maddie’s father decides that it’s time to retire from secret service duty, and he relocates himself and Maddie to the middle of Alaska. We never really find out why Alaska, or why he ran away, so if you like reasons, you aren’t going to get any when it comes to that. (I mean, there is a brief conversation, but I don’t feel like I really know why after finishing the book.)
The rest of the book takes place 6 years after the kidnapping attempt. Each chapter (or at least most of them; I’ve already returned the book and can’t check) starts with a letter Maddie wrote to Logan. We never see a response, because Logan never writes back. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happened there.
Pretty early on, you learn that Maddie doesn’t care for Logan anymore, at least that is what she tries to convince herself of when Logan ends up in Alaska with her. Drama happens, and Maddie has to save Logan’s life.
So here is what I liked –
- Maddie is a really strong, resourceful character. Having six years of experience living in remote Alaska, she has learned how to survive with limited resources. It was actually interesting to read how she navigates through the wilderness and why she does the things she does.
- I liked Logan’s character. He was funny and sarcastic, and despite his rich boy, entitled moments, he was likable.
- The plot was really fast paced. There were moments when it was uncertain if different characters died, so it definitely kept the suspense going throughout the book.
- The setting – Alaska is a fascinating place.
What I didn’t like – there was really just one thing (spoiler ahead…but really if you read YA, you probably already know what I’m going to say)
- Maddie and Logan falling in looooooooooooove. This has got to be my biggest pet peeve of the young adult genre. Yes, teens are quick to “fall in love” and romantic relationships are a big part of growing up, and I’m sure life and death situations make feelings even more intense. BUT, I am a teacher. I see students DAILY in relationships, even boy – girl relationships, that are very close and STRICTLY just friendships. I feel like the YA books are pushing the romantic relationship when I know plenty of students who don’t WANT to have a boyfriend/girlfriend. I think authors need to start tapping into this group. Maybe show kids that it is okay to be close friends with someone without it being romantic. (exits soapbox)
Overall, I enjoyed the book, but the romance took it from a 5 star rating on Goodreads to 3. Maddie was such a strong character, and the book would have been absolutely amazing without the romance.