Book Review: FIVE SURVIVE by Holly Jackson

Title in broken yellow on navy
Genre: Thriller
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: standalone


Book cover for FIVE SURVIVE: title in yellow on

Eight hours. Six friends. One sniper . . .

Eighteen year old Red and her friends are on a road trip in an RV, heading to the beach for Spring Break. It’s a long drive but spirits are high. Until the RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere. There’s no mobile phone reception and nobody around to help. And as the wheels are shot out, one by one, the friends realise that this is no accident. There’s a sniper out there in the dark watching them and he knows exactly who they are. One of the group has a secret that the sniper is willing to kill for.

A game of cat-and-mouse plays out as the group desperately tries to get help and to work out which member of the group is the target. Buried secrets are forced to light in the cramped, claustrophobic setting of the RV, and tensions within the group will reach deadly levels. Not everyone will survive the night.

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


FIVE SURVIVE is a tense thriller of claustrophobic proportions as six teens are trapped in a RV by a sniper.

The title heavily implies one person is going to die, and that adds a lot of tension to the story as you wonder who is not going to make it, and how and why. Plus the story is set over a very short eight hour period, from 10pm to 6am, with each section counting away the hours. This adds a ticking clock feel, rushing toward the finale.

This is a frantic tight paced tale that really utilises the sense of being trapped in a very small space. The sense of safety that space gives is slowly striped away across the book as the threat of the sniper gets more immediate (and more horribly demonstrated!) There’s also the break down of the group inside the RV.

Several of them have pretty major secrets they’re hiding, and the suspicion about who and what wears on them. It fractures them into infighting instead of figuring out how to survive. The worst person for breaking them up is Oliver.

I hated him so much! He is basically an entitled, rich man who is determined to take control and protect himself. He blames everyone that isn’t him, refuses to listen, demands they follow his suggestions, takes everyone for granted when they do something helpful (particularly the girls), gives risky jobs to others rather than do them himself, and then insisted he’s not at fault for his secret. Oh, and he’s also violent and refuses to do as he said he would when things don’t go his way.

In short, he was the one I spent the entire book hoping would be killed. He made for a great secondary antagonist tearing the group apart and adding another level of danger to the situation. He was unpredictable and violent when angry. He made it feel as unsafe inside as outside and put them all at risk. it was a great use of a character who readers will intensely dislike.

Read my reviews of other books by Holly Jackson:

Good Girl:

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