Will Peterson is on a mission trip in Costa Verde to rebuild the wall of a school when a revolution breaks out just before they board their plane to go home. His team must race to escape firing squads, savage animals in the jungle, prison cells, and the dangerous revolutionaries with machine guns. None of them will ever go home the same . . . if they only survive.
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This is an excellent choice for students who have been on mission trips or know of people who have been on mission trips. If you have been in a third world country, it is easy to see how easily a small number of people could stage a take over. Though I enjoyed it thoroughly, it probably plays better to teens, and is safe for all ages, though there is some violence. School libraries and homeschoolers alike will enjoy the wild ride, and make them think about what it would be like to be in similar situations. It will definitely make an exciting addition to all libraries.
There's nothing I like better than a tautly written suspense novel that not only provides gripping entertainment, but leaves me deep in thought as well. "If We Survive" is one such book, a book that held me in its grasp from start to finish. Klavan writes with a sure hand, and his scenes are infused with action and descriptions that leap off the page. This is not a novel for the faint of heart, for it finds the characters fighting for their lives, facing death and moral dilemmas and looking in the face of evil, both human and otherwise. The scene involving the spider left me with chills! Klavan does an excellent job of getting into the head of Will Peterson, creating a teen who struggles with the insecurities all teens face and yet superbly rises to the challenge as well. Although I greatly enjoyed Will, my favourite character was actually Meredith, who simply stands out due to her depth of faith in God. Will says it best when he observes "And what Meredith knew, what Meredith had learned when her sister died, what her sister had taught her when she was dying, was that good things might happen to you in life or bad things might happen, sometimes terrible things, but no matter what happens, your soul is your own. It's in your power to point your soul toward the light of God, and no one and nothing - not even a man with a gun, not even death, not even the devil from hell himself - can stop you". Powerful words, indeed.
Although this book may be aimed at the younger audience, I thoroughly enjoyed it as well, and am certain that people of all different ages will enjoy the fascinating plot and the bite-your-nails action. In fact, young adult fiction doesn't get better than this. Grab a copy of your own. You'll be glad you did! 5 out of 5 stars.
A review copy was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.
"We were in the cantina waiting for a bus when Mendoza walked in and shot the waiter dead." ~ If We Survive That opening line hooked me and wouldn't let go. A missions trip in Central America goes horribly wrong when Will and his friends are caught in the middle of a violent revolution. The latest novel from Andrew Klavan, (whom I've raved about before) If We Survive is masterful writing. The non-stop action draws you in and and keeps you furiously turning pages, yet Will's internal struggle to make sense of the violence around him will make you consider your own beliefs about poverty, patriotism, and sacrifice. A great read from start to finish!
Award winner author Andrew Klavan has produced another winner in “If We Survive.” This is a young adult fiction novel filled with intrigue, revolution, jungle survival, Christian core values, adventure, and nonstop action. Klavan has a writing style that allows the reader to get into the “soul” of his characters, their thinking, their fears, opinions, biases, and values.
Sixteen year old Will Peterson relates the story of a volunteer short term mission project in Central America turned from a service motivated commission to a nightmare of horror as terrorists take over the country. Americans become targets as enemies of the new government and Will’s team find themselves in danger of imminent death. They are fire at by machine guns; then stalked by wild beasts and the danger of crocodiles and water snakes in the foaming white rapids over the rocks rushing toward the falls, as they seek refuge in the density of the jungle.
Klavan’s characters grow and learn through their experiences as the plot progresses; they show maturity in judgment and trade cowardice for bravery when faced with difficult decisions requiring sacrifice and selflessness.
A reading guide is provided for group use.
This is a book for anyone who has ever volunteered for a short term mission project in a country where political may break out into a crisis of danger, fear and horror. “If We Survive” is a masterpiece of action, adventure, spine tingling suspense.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.
If We Survive is the story of four teenagers in the fictional Central American country of Costa Verdes, on a mission trip to rebuild a school, destroyed by the volcanoes. Nicki Wilson, Jim Nolan, Meredith Ward and Will Peterson, supervised by Pastor Ron, have finished their week in the village and are waiting for Palmer Dunn, their pilot, to finish his drink and fly them back to the capital of Costa Verdes, so they can catch their flights home. But revolution erupts, and they are caught in the middle.
“I just wish I could tell you that all of us made it home alive.”
That's how Chapter One ends. With lines like that, Klavan has certainly perfected the art of creating an unputdownable page turner. As I was reading, I was telling myself that Will must survive, if for no other reason than he is the narrator. After all, very few novels attempt a dead narrator, and even fewer succeed (but it has been done). Was I right? You’ll have to read it to find out.
The story is told in the first person from the point of view of sixteen-year-old Will, who tells us his story in a very conversational tone that directly addresses the reader. The language is very visual. For example, in introducing us to each of the people on the mission trip, Will gives a physical description, a character assessment, then tells a story illustrating their personality. So even when he tells, he's also showing us what happened.
It has to be admitted that the characters (especially Jim and Nicki) are somewhat stereotypical, but these kinds of characters have become stereotypes because there is something in them we recognise. But they each learn and grow as the story progresses and their beliefs about themselves are challenged. Will is a Christian and prays a lot, but (in line with a typical teenage boy) is never preachy.
If We Survive is a novel aimed at the Young Adult (teenage) market. There is a lot of violence (mostly implied, without any real detail) but no sex, no sensuality and no swearing. It reminded me of Crossfire and Betrayed by JM Windle, but more fast-paced and with a teenage focus. A Christian YA novel that will appeal to lovers of adventure (and their parents). Recommended.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookSneeze® for providing a free ebook for review.