If We Survive

Andrew Klavan, Author
Andrew Klavan. Thomas Nelson, $14.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-59554-795-8
Reviewed on: 10/15/2012
Release date: 11/01/2012
Two-time Edgar Award–winner Klavan (True Crime) works the YA category with a gripping story narrated by Will Peterson, a teen on a youth mission trip. Will has a jaded view of the group, until building a wall for an orphanage turns into a rush for survival in a fictional Central American country crumbling into civil war. Extensive early character description slows the story’s takeoff; characters efficiently develop in action by conquering fears and bonding while being chased by rebel leader Mendoza. With help from a discharged U.S. Marine, the group navigates everything from snakes to firing squads to escape the country. The best part is the narrator, a sort of more hopeful and kindhearted Holden Caulfield, who finds himself in binds that lead him to make tough choices in the heat of the moment: “And I—Will Peterson—sixteen years old—from the quiet little town of Spencer’s Grove, California... I had just killed a man.” Klavan turns up the heat for YA fiction, and this book will be a hot Christmas gift this season. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)■
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