Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Maddie and her friend Logan, who just happens to be the President’s son, were inseparable until Maddie’s father, a former Secret Service agent, whisks her away to the remote Alaskan wilderness after an attempted abduction of the First Lady. Six years later Logan joins her in Alaska at the insistence of his parents in an attempt to get him to “shape up.” Soon the two teenagers are left on their own, technology and adult free, when a mysterious Russian assailant attacks, forcing them to flee into the unforgiving wilderness. Though Maddie is furious with Logan for his six years of silence, she will have to rescue him, and fast, from the ruthless hitman hot on their trail.
This action-packed survival page-turner grabs readers from the opening kidnapping chapter through Maddie and Logan’s race for survival six years later. The witty banter between the two leads and the almost humorous struggle of who will kill the other first offsets the moderate violence of the chase. Teens will also find the technology-free angle as well as the use of old-fashion survival skills intriguing.
This title is an easy sell to Ally Carter readers, but will also appeal to those looking for a fast-paced survival story with a dash of romance. Give to fans of Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ The Fixer or Jessica Taylor’s A Map for Wrecked Girls.
Pelé: The King of Soccer by Eddy Simon, Illustrated by Vincent Brascaglia
Roaring Brook Press / First Second
Publication Date: October 24, 2017
This is the graphic biography of how little Edson Arantes do Nascimento became the preeminent soccer player better known as Pelé. It starts on the streets of Brazil with a barefoot Edson who, though poor, is already a prodigy under the tutelage of his father. The next chapters chronicle Pelé’s rise to superstardom and his worldwide advocacy for soccer.
Sports books are a perennial favorite of teens, and readers are increasingly clamoring for soccer titles. First Second has a reputation for graphic biographies that don’t flinch from accurately representing the flaws of the characters or their societies, and this title is no exception. The ugliness of racism, political upheaval, and the FIFA scandal are covered. The author’s and illustrator’s choices about what portions of Pelé’s life to include keep readers moving through the story while the graphic novel format keeps the biography accessible.
This is a title that would be beautifully paired with Kwame Alexander’s Booked for soccer fans, or with Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown for those who are looking for a graphic biography of a larger-than-life sports legend.