Book Reviews

The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda: Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda

Published April 11th, 2023

Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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?

Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada, for sending me an ARC of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Megan Miranda has become one of my go-to domestic thriller writers. When I pick up one of her books I always know I’m in for a good murder mystery. The Only Survivors was no exception. While it wasn’t my favorite of her novels, it still kept me captivated while reading.

One of the best aspects of Miranda’s books is always the atomsphere, which she excels at here once again. Their beach house on the Outerbanks was satisfyingly sinister, and the group of friends-by-circumstances-not necessarily-by-choice made it hard to know who to trust and who to suspect.

Miranda’s writing is always at its best when writing dual timelines, and The Only Survivors definitely benefited from this. The story unfolded between ‘Now’ and ‘Then’ – outlining the survivors’ 10th annual meeting in the Outerbanks interspersed with flashbacks to the tragedy that they had survived. The dual mysteries: ‘Who was targeting the survivors now?’ and ‘What had truly gone down that fateful night that would put targets on their backs?’ were compelling enough to keep me hooked right up until the reveal.

Unfortunately, that’s where this novel fell a little flat for me. Maybe I’ve been reading too many domestic thrillers lately, but I found the twists here pretty predictable and a little underwhelming. (And the reason I couldn’t rate this book higher.) Nevertheless, The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda delivers an overall enjoyable read for fans of the genre.

Have you read The Only Survivors?

What did you think of it?

Let me know!

Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.


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