Book Review: The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda

A mystery about a group of former classmates who reunite to mark the tenth anniversary of a tragic accident—only to have one of the survivors disappear, casting fear and suspicion on the original tragedy.

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?

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from Simon & Schuster. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

The survivors from a horrible accident their high school senior year meet during the week of the accident to support one another. They always go to a house on the beach, and although Cassidy doesn’t want to go, she decides to go at the last minute. Once she’s there, she realizes that it was a mistake. It would be best to let the past stay in the past.

Although The Only Survivors moves slowly at times, it kept my attention. I had to know what happened 10 years ago that made the survivors feel so guilty. After two suicides, it couldn’t be just survivor’s guilt. Besides, someone has been watching them…

Several of the survivors seem sketchy, and they all have their secrets. If not for the accident, they wouldn’t be in each other’s lives. They come from diverse backgrounds even though they are from the same town. Some have stayed close to home, but others want nothing to do with their old home.

Although I had my theories, the ending was still a surprise to me. If you don’t mind a slow moving but interesting mystery, this is a book you’ll enjoy.

About the Author

Megan Miranda is the New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls; The Perfect Stranger; The Last House Guest, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick; The Girl from Widow Hills; Such a Quiet Place; and The Last to Vanish. She has also written several books for young adults. She grew up in New Jersey, graduated from MIT, and lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children.

Her next thriller, The Only Survivors, will be published on April 11th, 2023.

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