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The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda

The Only Survivors

by Megan Miranda

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Quick take

A group bound by a decades-old pact and survivors’ guilt reunite at a remote island house in this taut, twisty tale.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NonLinear

    Nonlinear timeline

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Teen


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Whodunit


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Rugged



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 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?

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Get an early look from the first pages of The Only Survivors.
The Only Survivors


There were things I had done to avoid this reunion.

I’d made a list. Made a plan. Justified it by reminding myself that these were not really my friends, and ten years was long enough.

This yearly trip wasn’t helping anyone. This promise. We had been too young when we’d agreed to come together for the anniversary, as a way to keep one another safe. It had been a misguided impulse, an overreaction. A panicked grasp for control, when we all surely knew better by then.

I’d begun the process of disentangling myself six months earlier, in the hope of becoming invisible, unreachable. Three simple steps, seen through to the end:

I’d changed my number when I switched carriers, transferring most of my contacts, while deleting those I’d hoped to leave behind. A clean slate.

And when the group email from Amaya arrived in January, I marked it as junk, deleted it immediately. Unopened, unread, so I could claim ignorance. Though the details bolded in the subject line were already seared in my mind: May 7th—Be there!

Instead, I’d planned to stay at Russ’s for the weekend, the final step of evasion. I needed to move forward. I was twenty-eight, with a steady job and a semi-serious boyfriend who cooked breakfast on Sundays and owned reasonably decent sheets.

But on Sunday morning, my phone chimed as I was finishing up my omelet and Russ was at the counter, back turned, refilling his coffee. There was a flash of light on the display of my cell, faceup on the table. A North Carolina number not in my contacts, a message in all caps: DID YOU HEAR?

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Why I love it

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!

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Member ratings (23,499)

  • Christi M.

    Gray, GA

    I did NOT see where the twisty ending of this story was going…and for someone who’s read all of her previous works that’s saying something! Main character is so complicated and compelling! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Kaytlin M.

    Arnold, MO

    Fantastic twisted mystery book! Who would you save? Very mysterious, and I wonder what was the catch with the neighbor? Just for suspicion? Could’ve done more with that. Over all a good read ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Rebecca B.

    Tyrone, PA

    Couldn’t put this book down. When Cassidy said it was her fault I definitely didn’t believe it until the very end. Wasn’t expecting Russ to be the “stalker”. The end felt a bit rushed but 5 stars fs.

  • Erin H.

    Spokane, WA

    The final twist truly did shock me. I was engaged the whole time. I wondered why they were so sure everyone would judge their survival but the darkness is so creatively done it really shocks you 5️⃣⭐️

  • Emily S.

    Silver Spring, MD

    I lost sleep binge reading this book in two nights but it was worth it. All the characters so deeply flawed. Two stories expertly interwoven. Nothing is as simple as it seems. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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