Five Survive by Holly Jackson
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Publishing Date: November 29, 2022
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
15 Reactions While Reading Five Survive
1. We love that it’s a thriller set during a road trip
All the road trip books we’ve read have been YA contemporary romance. The thought of being stuck in an RV makes the book much more terrifying. Red, Maddy, Oliver, Arthur, Reyna and Simon are on a spring road trip, excepting a nice and relaxing vacation. But nothing about that night goes as planned.
2. Oliver Lavoy is annoying the crap out of us. Poor Reyna Flores-Serrano and Red Kenny
Oliver is Red’s best friend’s older brother. He comes off as pompous and privileged right away. We get it, you attend Dartmouth College. But that doesn’t mean you can treat your sister, her friends and your girlfriend poorly. When the RV experiences problems, Oliver blames his girlfriend Reyna, who is driving. May if he wasn’t such a know it all, he could be more helpful to the group.
3. Red, you shouldn’t go off alone
The RV got a flat tire and the group is outside in the middle of nowhere South Carolina. It’s pitch black and Red has to use the bathroom. We knew something had to be lurking in the woods by this point. Based on the description, we figured the characters weren’t going anywhere for the night. Going off alone is a bad idea in any scary book or movie.
4. Red and Arthur have amazing chemistry
Thankfully, Arthur went to get Red so she wouldn’t be alone. We like their flirty banter and amazing chemistry, even if Red isn’t ready to let him in yet. All we know is that it’s clear Arthur has feelings for her.
5. This is getting super creepy
When everyone returns to the car, all four tires go out and the gas tank is busted. Like we said, we knew someone had to be watching from the woods. The six friends are stuck in the RV. No cell service. No internet. No way to leave without running, which we figure wouldn’t end well.
6. Someone has a secret
Finally, they learn that someone is watching them and he says one person in the RV has a secret. Once the secret is revealed, this can end. However, I don’t think Oliver is getting warmer. Oliver is playing wannabe Sherlock Holmes and in the process, makes it so everything revolves around him.
7. This is not a good plan
Trying to escape instead of figuring out what the guy wants is not smart. Even though Oliver thinks he knows the secret, if it were that easy, the book would be over now. If only everyone in the RV would be honest in attempt to save their friends. The villain says that if someone tries to escape, he shoots. It’s not worth the risk.
8. Are there really two villains or is it a fear tactic?
To make things worse, the person in the woods said he isn’t acting alone. Is someone else really there or is it a fear tactic to prevent an escape attempt? We have no idea.
9. Can this mystery person hear everything they say?
We’ve wondered for a while if there is a listening device planted in the RV. If it were true, that would mean someone had to enter the RV who isn’t part of the group. Maybe when they all left the RV to change the first tire? Or could someone have followed them all the way from Philadelphia and entered at a rest stop.
10. Is someone in the RV unreliable?
But if there isn’t a listening device, then someone in the RV has to be unreliable. Or maybe the unreliable person planted a listening device. It feels like we can’t trust everyone. However, Oliver takes this into his own hands, putting everyone in danger.
11. Everyone has secrets
It’s time to reveal secrets and it seems like everyone has something to hide, but which one relates to the guy in the woods? That’s the big question. But we don’t think any of the secrets mentioned at this point are helpful.
12. Oliver is the worst character in this story
Again, Oliver becomes impatient and comes out with some really bad ideas. He really would risk everyone else in the RV to save himself. Can he just shut up for a bit, please?
13. Finally, we learn the truth about the situation
We’ve been waiting for the real secret. Everything suddenly comes together when we learn the secret and why someone wants it to become public knowledge. We won’t spoil anything. Just know a lot of what was brought up earlier in the night connects back to this. Also, it seems like the only person who has been trustworthy this whole time was Maddy. Everyone else had something to hide, which led to this big mess.
14. Oh shit, things just got dark
After the big secret is out, the situation became dark in the blink of an eye. Everything that happens to these characters happens so fast that we have to pause a few times to make sure we understood everything. Wow, just wow. Now we wait to see what happens to the six friends. Who survives?
15. An interesting way to end the story
Five Survive ends with the story being told through a police report, a newspaper article and a letter, instead of from the characters. It provides the reader with an unbiased recollection of the events that occurred, including who survived. Lastly, with the letter, it’s an explanation of why what happened had to. It’s an explanation of why one character had no choice, at least in their mind. It doesn’t quite make their actions okay. Yet, they beg for forgiveness. It also leaves one aspect of the book open-ended.
Overall, Five Survive was a wild ride (pun not intended). We highly recommend this YA thriller to fans of Jackson’s previous books.
About the Author and Links
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.
She lives in London and aside from reading and writing, she enjoys binge-playing video games and pointing out grammatical errors in street signs.