Sunday, January 3, 2021

Book Review: Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards

Title: Five Total Strangers
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: October 6th 2020
Print Length: 248 pages
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Suspense
She thought being stranded was the worst thing that could happen. She was wrong.

Mira needs to get home for the holidays. Badly. But when an incoming blizzard results in a canceled connecting flight, it looks like she might get stuck at the airport indefinitely.

And then Harper, Mira's glamorous seatmate from her initial flight, offers her a ride. Harper and her three friends can drop Mira off on their way home. But as they set off, Mira realizes fellow travelers are all total strangers. And every one of them is hiding something.

Soon, roads go from slippery to terrifying. People's belongings are mysteriously disappearing. Someone in the car is clearly lying, and may even be sabotaging the trip—but why? And can Mira make it home alive, or will this nightmare drive turn fatal?

Browsing for my next digital read, I came across Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards. The synopsis definitely had my interest piqued. I'm glad I decided to read this story because I enjoyed it very much.

High school senior Mira is trying to get home to her mother for Christmas. However, a severe snowstorm means that Mira's connecting flight has been cancelled until further notice. Desperate to get home to her mother, Mira decides to take a chance with the college girl who was sat beside her on the plane named Harper. Somehow, Harper manages to snag a rental car, but there are three other people besides Harper and Mira. When personal items start going missing and strange things begin happening, Mira wonders who can she actually trust that's sharing a car with her and just what is the end game.

I loved, loved, loved the plot. It sounds like it's such a simplistic storyline with just five people travelling together, but it was so much more than that. It's a mystery, horror, thriller, and suspense story all in one which are all of my favorite genres. The pacing was absolutely spot on, and I found myself closely following each word on the page to find out what would happen next. I felt like I was one of the people in the car. I started getting paranoid about who to trust in the car. There were a couple of plot twists which were interesting. I never could figure out who was the sender of the letters to Mira until it was revealed at the end, and I wasn't sure who the saboteur was either until the end. There were many times I realized I was holding my breath in anticipation while reading Five Total Strangers. I pretty much read the whole book in one sitting. The only thing that was a small disappointment was the ending. It didn't feel like it was rushed, but I felt like there could have been a bit more information. I would have loved to know what the other occupants of the car got up to after their disastrous trip. There were no cliffhangers though which I was grateful for.

I felt like the characters were fleshed out perfectly for Five Total Strangers. There isn't much backstory for Harper, Brecken, Kayla, and Josh besides little tidbits here and there, but that's what makes this book even better. It gives it more of a mysterious feel. I liked the book being in Mira's perspective. I felt like I was feeling everything right along with Mira. Even though she was only eighteen, she came across as much older. Sure, she still made some decisions with a teen brain, but for the most part, she did have a good head on her shoulders. I liked Harper, and I admired her bravado. However, I also liked the times she showed her human side and her vulnerability. I admired Josh and Brecken's desire to help out when things got really rough. I did love Kayla's dry humor peppered within the book. I would even go as far as saying she was my favorite character in Five Total Strangers

Trigger warnings for Five Total Strangers include swearing, attempted murder, death, some violence, and some drug use.

All in all, Five Total Strangers is a fantastic read which will leave you guessing who to trust throughout the book. With a great set of characters and fantastic world building, this is not a book you want to miss. I would definitely recommend Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards to those aged 15+ who are after a story that will captivate them the entire time.

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