The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda


Megan Miranda writes excellent thrillers, so I was excited to see her latest book as one of my book of the month choices. The premise centers around a group of nine high school students who traveled by van on a service trip and managed to survive an accident deep in the Tennessee mountains on their way home.

The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda in front of the ocean.

After one of the survivors dies by suicide on the first anniversary of the tragedy, the remaining survivors make a pact to mark the anniversary together. Ten years later, Cassidy Bent is reluctant to attend after disconnecting from the group in an effort to move on. 

She receives an email message with information about another death that compels her at the last minute to head to the Outer Banks to meet up with her former classmates and fulfill the promise she made years ago.

Shortly after Cassidy arrives, weird and spooky things begin to happen. A haunting message turns up, one group member disappears just as a storm is approaching, and everyone has the sense they are being watched.

Miranda does a good job building suspense in this closed-room thriller by alternating between the present day and flashbacks to the day of the accident. However, the story as a whole felt disjointed, primarily because the character development was so severely lacking. It was hard to keep all of the players straight because so little was revealed about them in either timeline. 

I was also able to figure out the major twist well before it was divulged, which is almost always a letdown for me in a thriller. Despite an interesting premise and a great setting, this one isn’t among Miranda’s best. 

The Only Survivors reads like it was written in a rush, and the suspense doesn’t lead anywhere for almost two-thirds of the book. I also quickly forgot some of the plot’s details a few hours after I finished reading. 

I will keep Miranda on my list of must-read authors but I hope her next one gives me the chills like All the Missing Girls.

My review of Miranda’s The Last House Guest is available here.

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