Book Review: Five Survive by Holly Jackson

Title: Five Survive
Author: Holly Jackson
Release Date: November 29, 2022
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: ★★★★


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…


As a big fan of the A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder trilogy, Five Survive was an instant buy. I went into it without even reading the synopsis knowing whatever it was about wouldn’t disappoint. I ended up devouring this book in almost one sitting. Just what could possibly go wrong in a 31 foot trailer over 8 hours? Apparently almost everything.

The beginning is typical teen spring break nonsense. We had a romantic connection between our main girl Red and group newbie Arthur, talks of the future and we kind just get to know everyone in the group. The group included Maddy, Red’s bestfriend, along with her brother Oliver who is pre-law and his girlfriend Reyna who works as a nurse and finally Simon who’s uncle’s RV their using and a wanna-be actor afraid of telling his strict parents about his dreams. All of them are hiding something though and someone is hiding something so big that others are willing to kill for it.

Red was such an interesting character. Her thought process and inner monologues were so jumbled and honestly so sad. She thought so little of herself due to a tragedy that had struck years ago, leaving her practically alone in life. Maddy was he constant defender, helping her put together the pieces of her life as best she could and constantly championing her. Practically destitute, Red’s the reason why they’re driving the RV to spring break instead of flying. Some might say the reason they got into this whole mess in the first place.

While it started off slow, once you hit the 11 PM mark sh** hits the fan. They were being hunted for a specific secret and only one of them knows what it is. The friend group starts to turn on each other but I was surprised how long it took. Oliver steps up as leader of the situation and was of course your typical white privileged assho**. Passing off others ideas as his own, casting the blame elsewhere and basically being avoidant of his own secret. The man bugged me to no end and was so careless with everyone else’s lives it was sickening. No one was willing to confess though and the stakes kept getting higher and higher.

The makings of a good mystery/thriller aren’t being able to guess the ending, it’s being able to only guess half of it and getting a shocking twist that you missed. Five Survive was WILD. Looking back now I knew what the secret was but not everything else that went along with it, which was A LOT. This book kept me on the edge of my seat to the point where at the end I was trying to skip forward to get to the reveal faster. Jackson does a great job of connecting all the pieces and leaving you with a shocking ending. My one complaint is about just that though, the ending. I needed more. I needed for everyone to pay for their secrets and it just didn’t feel like everything was wrapped up. I also feel like the question of who the second “yes” vote was from was never answered….

Leave a Reply

Blog at