Title: Five Survive
Author: Holly Jackson
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Publishing Date: November 29, 2022
About the Book
Eight hours. Six friends. Five survive. A road trip turns deadly in this addictive YA thriller from the bestselling author of the worldwide phenomenon A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER.
Red Kenny is on a road trip for spring break with five friends: Her best friend – the older brother – his perfect girlfriend – a secret crush – a classmate – and a killer.
When their RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere with no cell service, they soon realize this is no accident. They have been trapped by someone out there in the dark, someone who clearly wants one of them dead.
With eight hours until dawn, the six friends must escape, or figure out which of them is the target. But is there a liar among them? Buried secrets will be forced to light and tensions inside the RV will reach deadly levels. Not all of them will survive the night. . . .
Content Warning: guns, death threats, mob violence, death, injury
About the Author
Holly Jackson was born in 1992. She grew up in Buckinghamshire and started writing stories from a young age, completing her first (poor) attempt at a book aged fifteen.
‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’ is a YA Mystery Thriller and her debut novel. She lives in London and aside from reading and writing, she enjoys binge-playing video games and pointing out grammatical errors in street signs.
Six teens are on their way to spring break when things start to happen with their RV. With flat tires and no gas, and no cell reception, they’re dead in the water and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. But they aren’t alone. We watch the story unfold as things go fantastically awry.
What I liked:
It’s super dramatic, and I love how fast things turn. The characters, except for Simon, are super fleshed out. Poor Red has lost her mother. Her father has checked out, they have no money, and she has low self-esteem. You can’t help but empathize with her. Oliver is a straight out jerk who winds people up, leaving everyone pretty helpless in his wake. Jackson wrote him well enough that I wanted to reach into the book and wring his neck. I love when a book evokes those kinds of feelings. Also, I wasn’t sure of the motive behind everything and enjoyed not knowing.
What didn’t really work for me:
Why wasn’t the relationship between Maddy and Red explained sooner? I had no idea how they were related for too many chapters, which was confusing. I don’t know why the explanation was put off. Also, what is going on with Red? Even though it’s not spelled out, it’s clear she has PTSD. But what was up with her always missing time? She could barely hold conversations because she constantly checked out of them, but PTSD doesn’t explain that, nor does Jackson. Also, I think I read roughly 40 times that the RV was 31 feet long, another thing that isn’t explained by the PTSD that I’m just presuming she had based on personal experience. So ultimately, what was up with Red?
But back to what I liked:
So I didn’t love every aspect of the book, and that’s okay because here I am, giving the book 4 stars. Because I am a poly reader and had 3 books going when I started this, I promptly abandoned the other two because Jackson writes this in such a meandering way that I didn’t know why we were in this situation, but I desperately needed to find out. I enjoyed how the story is broken up by each hour, and a lot goes on in each hour. The book is stressful in a very fun way. Overall, this was a super fun read, and I am grateful I got to read an early copy of it.
“Clearly Oliver had never been in a situation he couldn’t talk his way out of. Red didn’t think this would be one of those.”
“… well, it didn’t bear thinking about. And Red was good at not thinking about things like that.”
“Are you supposed to be okay when someone’s trying to kill you?”
“And why did it hurt so much that they all knew? Little Red Kenny, poor as dirt and a dead mom, but she had potential, hadn’t you heard?”
“Someone was screaming. It was her.”
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