A group bound by a decades-old pact and survivors’ guilt reunite at a remote island house in this taut, twisty tale.
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Why I love it
Author, The Husbands
I love when a novel perfectly marries two genres that I didn’t know I needed put together. Like French fries and a milkshake—both great on their own, but even more fun when combined. Megan Miranda’s The Only Survivors is one part locked-room mystery, one part survival thriller, and entirely engrossing.
The novel takes place ten years after a horrific accident when two school vans careened into a ravine, killing many of Cassidy Bent’s classmates her senior year of high school. She and the others who survived have reluctantly formed a depressing fraternity of sorts. Most of them never would have been friends before the accident, but they’ve made a pact to stay in a house together once a year in the name of moral support. But just as the number of survivors dwindled the night of the accident, so have they continued to in the years since. After the recent death of fellow survivor Ian, Cassidy tells herself she no longer wants to keep returning to the Outer Banks for this sad little reunion. She’d rather forget the trauma of the event and the imperfect choices each teenager made back then to survive . . .
The narrative races along two interwoven tracks: the present and the night of the accident, both equally nail-biting and sinister. You know when you finish a super juicy book and you’re dying to have someone to discuss it with? Exactly. Get reading, please!
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.
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 water . . . 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?