By Megan Miranda
An Intriguing and Intricately Woven Story
Ten years ago, a group of classmates and teachers on a school service trip were in a tragic accident in the Tennessee Mountains. Ten died when two of the school vans were plunged into a raging river off the side of the mountain. Nine classmates survived, but their lives were changed forever by their actions after the accident. On the one-year anniversary of the accident, one of the survivors commits suicide. The remaining survivors make a pact. They also agree to get together each year at a beach house in the Outer Banks to keep in touch but really to make sure no one tells the secrets about the trip.
Cassidy Bent is one of the survivors. On the tenth anniversary of the accident, she is determined to break ties with the group. She has had it with all the secrets and lies. But when she discovers Ian, her closest friend in the group, had also committed suicide several months earlier, she is grief-stricken and highly suspicious. Now there is only seven of them left. She races to the Outer Banks, where things are strange and uncomfortable. She feels like someone is watching the house. When Cassidy finds a cell phone on the beach that had belonged to Ian, she is stupefied. Then Amaya, another of the survivors, disappears from the beach house, and no one can reach her. With a huge storm approaching, tensions are high, but it is not until Cassidy gets home that the real trouble begins.
The Only Survivors is a fast read with an intricately woven story. The various connections between the characters and the roles they played in the accident and its aftermath keep the pages turning. It’s a continuous flow of suspense.
The writing is atmospheric, with an old three-story beach house set on pilings at the end of a sandy road buffeted by the wind, storms, and floods as the centerpiece. I could not only feel the sand between my toes and the storm clouds brewing but could also feel the immense tension among the characters. The characters are numerous, but Cassidy’s resilience to the accident and her determination to find out what is going on with the group stands out.
Author Megan Miranda has woven a tale that is intriguing and smartly structured. She slowly doles out the truth behind the original accident hour by hour from the perspective of the various survivors. You’ll want to hold on tight for that dark ride. Miranda Grew up in New Jersey, graduated from MIT, and now lives in North Carolina.
Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Published April 11, 2023