Since I have only read two stories by Andrew Klavan, I can’t call him a favorite author, but I have enjoyed his YA Christian fiction novel If We Survive and the short story “The Killer Christian”.
If We Survive is told from the point of view of sixteen-year-old Will who, with two other teenagers, a college student, and their pastor, is on a mission trip in a South American country. Right before they are scheduled to leave, a communist coup takes place. In the small village where they were staying, the rebels target them because they are Americans. Their only hope of escape is the ex-Marine who is their pilot.
I like If We Survive for several reasons. It’s one of the few YA Christian fiction novels I have found that has a realistic setting – no fantasy or science fiction elements. It also has a male protagonist. If a YA novel has a contemporary setting, it is usually a romance told from a girl’s point of view. The action sequences held my attention and are very appealing for a teen audience.
Will is written in a way teens can relate to, but I wish the supporting characters were more distinct. I do like the change Nikki goes through. The other female character seems to good to be true, but Will is describing her and he has a crush on her.
To learn more, check out If We Survive on Goodreads.
I was introduced to Mr. Klavan in the short story collection Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop. The title of Mr. Klavan’s story “The Killer Christian” caught my attention. Then I read the first paragraph:
“A certain portion of my misspent youth was misspent in the profession of journalism. I’m not proud of it, but a man has to make a living and there it is. Most importantly, I learned how to be painstakingly honest and lie at the same time. That’s how the news business works. It’s not that anyone goes around making up facts or anything – not on a regular basis anyway. No, most of them time, newspeople simply learn how to pick and choose which facts to tell, which will heighten your sense that their gormless opinions are reality or at least delay your discovery that everything they believe is provably false. If ever you see a man put his fingers in his ears and whistle Dixie to keep from hearing the truth, you may assume he’s a fool, but if he put his fingers in your ears and starts whistling, then you know you are dealing with a journalist.”
With an opening like that, I had to read more. I won’t tell you any more about the story but if you like to read Christmas stories at Christmas, save this one as a present for yourself. The ending, in keeping with Christian beliefs, is great and always moves me. It’s one of my favorite Christmas stories.