The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda #BookReview #PsychologicalThriller

From the New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and “master of suspense, Megan Miranda” (Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl), a thrilling mystery about a group of former classmates who reunite to mark the tenth anniversary of a tragic accident—only to have one of the survivors disappear, casting fear and suspicion on the original tragedy.

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 waters…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?

A propulsive and chilling locked-box mystery filled with the dazzling hairpin twists that are the author’s signature, The Only Survivors is New York Times-bestselling author Megan Miranda’s best novel yet.

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda is a thriller about a group of people who agreed to keep a secret since high school. They meet yearly at a beach house, but this year is much different. One group member has died, and everyone else realizes they too may be in danger.

My Reading Experience:

I found the story compelling, and once I figured out that the past timeline might hold the answers I sought, I found myself paying close attention to those seven hours. I also enjoyed that the perspective of each hour of those seven hours focused on a different survivor, and getting the different viewpoints allowed me to get a much more complete picture of what happened.

The clues are all there, so the big reveal wasn’t so shocking as it was more of an “aha” moment. I liked that the reveal made all the elements come together into a cohesive story of a group of people pulled together by the fact that they survived a tragic event and have all been suffering from survivor’s guilt because of the secrets they have been protecting.


One of the weaker aspects of the story is the characters. Cassidy Bent is the only one who developed to any extent and told the story. I found it very intriguing that the invisible one is at the story’s center.

The six other survivors are barely more than one-dimensional, stereotypical high school students growing up. They fill the social roles you would expect from teens (in the past timeline) and mostly have grown into adults with careers in the various helping professions (in the current timeline). None are particularly relatable or despicable; they just are who they are. Another intriguing aspect of the story is that these seven people are not actually friends. They come together once a year because they are the only survivors, not because they were ever friends.

Narration & Pacing:

Cassidy tells the current timeline in first-person narration. Being in her head, you get the overwhelming sense of guilt that she feels, creating an atmosphere all of its own. There are also chapters from the event that the group survived when they attended high school, which are told in the 3rd person, with each chapter in the past focusing its perspective on one of the survivors.

The pace was neither fast nor slow. It sits solidly in the mid-range, speeding up and slowing down in relation to the suspense level. The past timeline was considerably faster than the current day one overall, but then the past plot is full of action and the suspense of survival.


The setting is the outer banks of North Carolina in a house called The Shallows. I love the location. It’s so isolated once the storms come, the power goes out, and the roads to the mainland close down. It is perfect for increasing the atmospheric feel and building suspense.

Read if you like:

  • atmospheric psychological thrillers
  • plot-driven stories
  • dual timelines

Overall Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐

Writing Quality10
Character Development8
‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness10
Use of Setting10
All scores, except the overall rating, are on a scale of 1-10. The overall rating is converted to the standard 5-point system.

21 Replies to “The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda #BookReview #PsychologicalThriller”

  1. Awesome review! I wonder at the author’s choice to keep most of the characters one dimensional. The suspense sounds fab, awesome review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, perhaps it was because the main character is telling the story and she didn’t really know them or probably to keep suspense up since the less you know them the more it keeps the possibilities open.


  2. I definitely want to read this one. Even without much character development (other than the MC), the plot and the setting sound fantastic. I love your review. This is going on my read list!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the NC setting. I always love the challenge of trying to figure out what happened – but I’m usually wrong by the end, lol. Nice review, Tessa!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful review, Tessa. I love an atmospheric thriller, one where I try to figure out what is happening and am oh so wrong. I am on the list at the library for this one, but it will be awhile. Megan Miranda always makes me smile at the end of her books, ready for the next one.

    Liked by 1 person

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