Review of The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda @MeganLMiranda

Surprise after surprise after surprise. Way to go Megan Miranda for writing a book I literally (in all meaning of the word, well, mostly) couldn’t put down and read far too late or early, if you will.

Happy Book Birthday to The Only Survivors!

Blurb: Seven hours in the past. Seven days in the present. Seven survivors remaining. Who would you save?

A decade ago, two vans filled with high school seniors on a school service trip crashed into a Tennessee ravine—a tragedy that claimed the lives of multiple classmates and teachers. The nine students who managed to escape the river that night were irrevocably changed. A year later, after one of the survivors dies by suicide on the anniversary of the crash, the rest of them make a pact: to come together each year to commemorate that terrible night.

To keep one another safe.

To hold one another accountable.

Or both.

Their annual meeting place, a house on the Outer Banks, has long been a refuge. But by the tenth anniversary, Cassidy Bent has worked to distance herself from the tragedy, and from the other survivors. She’s changed her mobile number. She’s blocked the others’ email addresses. This year, she is determined to finally break ties once and for all. But on the day of the reunion, she receives a text with an obituary attached: another survivor is gone. Now they are seven—and Cassidy finds herself hurling back toward the group, wild with grief—and suspicion.

Almost immediately, something feels off this year. Cassidy is the first to notice when Amaya, annual organizer, slips away, overwhelmed. This wouldn’t raise alarm except for the impending storm. Suddenly, they’re facing the threat of closed roads and surging waters…again. Then Amaya stops responding to her phone. After all they’ve been through, she wouldn’t willfully make them worry. Would she?

And—as they promised long ago—each survivor will do whatever he or she can do to save one another. Won’t they?

A propulsive and chilling locked-box mystery filled with the dazzling hairpin twists that are the author’s signature, The Only Survivors is New York Times-bestselling author Megan Miranda’s best novel yet.

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A decade ago, two vans carrying students performing a volunteer mission go off the road into a river ravine during a bad storm. Nine students fight to survive and then later are still dealing with something horrific when one takes her life on the anniversary. The remainder create a pact that they will meet during that week at a house on the NC Outer Banks to commemorate, and more.

However, this year Cassidy Bent has had enough. She needs to put distance between herself and them and the accident. She needs to get on with her life until she receives an anonymous text that her friend/sometimes lover Ian–another survivor–died three months earlier. Her desperate need to understand and be with the others who would understand and might have answers takes her to the place that she wanted to avoid in The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda.

Okay, let’s get my nitpick out of the way before I expound on how wonderful this novel is. The narration says that the group met even during the pandemic at the beginning of May 2020, but the group could not have met at the beginning of May in 2020 because the Outer Banks did not open until May 16 to visitors and rental home owners. And, if you know me, you know why I would know. But anyway. My second nitpick is that Megan Miranda has evidently not been in a beach house during a storm because she missed one of the most unsettling effects of the house actually swaying on its stilts which would have added a bit to her narrative. These nitpicks do not in any way affect my opinion of the novel.

Megan Miranda has created a brilliantly atmospheric novel incorporating not only nosy and creepy neighbors who observe the survivors but also a house that creaks and a seaside world creating a sense of malevolence.

Cassidy arrives at OBX not knowing whom she can trust because something is off in group. Her friend, the organizer, Amaya, almost immediately disappears. Upon encountering a neighbor, Will, Cassidy realizes that their group is a subject of conversation. Of speculation. All uncomfortable and creepy.

Miranda does what she does best. She provides bit after bit of information. Some of it points us in the wrong direction. Some takes us down side roads. We begin to speculate, as I did, expecting that someone might be someone other than whom we thought they were.

There’s a bad storm that cuts them off, cuts out electricity, forces them to forage, so to speak, as well as offering the best kind of Agatha Christie scenario. Is there anything better than a group in the dark during a storm wondering who the killer is?!

There’s a satisfactory climax. And then there’s a revelation that is so unexpected that it unsettles the entire applecart and even now I keep picturing that entire scenario. Desperation, surprise, despair. Things happen. Characters are wrong and act in their wrongness and then regret.

An excellent read.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Let me know if you read this and what you think.

2 thoughts on “Review of The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda @MeganLMiranda

    1. Oh, I was certain that I had replied to you. I’m going to find an open tab and an unfinished comment somewhere in these 50 open tabs!

      Yes, I think Megan Miranda just excels at adding twists and this one seemed out of left field. I can’t say I’ve gone back to see if she had it in her mind all the way along or if there are logic gaps that would show she came up with it last minute, but since she’s a pro, I would imagine that even if she did come up with it at the last minute, she covered her tracks. 🙂

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