2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Tina has read 0 books toward her goal of 39 books.

Friday, September 25, 2020

BOOK REVIEW for Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards

A huge thank you goes out to Sourcebooks for sending me an e-copy of this book to read and review.

TITLE:                      Five Total Strangers
AUTHOR:                Natalie D. Richards
GENRE:                    YA
RATING:                  4 stars

First, I have to say that I have a love/hate relationship with this author. She is hit and miss for me. I am glad to say that this book was a definite hit. I loved it! I didn't want it to end, yet, at the same time, I needed to find out "who did it?".

The story starts at the airport, in a terrible snowstorm. These are two of my favorite premises - cold and isolated. I don't know what it is about snowstorms, but they add such an eerie touch to any story. Another book, Trapped by Michael Northrop, was written in the same genre and it remains one of my favorites to this day. I literally could not figure out who did it here, not even by the end, when we find out who the guilty party actually was and let me say that the author was masterful at tying everything neatly in a bow.

The author also does an excellent job of slowly building the tension. None of the "strangers", including the main character, are particularly likeable, which is an interesting twist for me. I disliked all of them, for various reasons, yet I could not stop reading and rooting for Mira.

I could almost put myself in that car, with all these strangers, living in fear that every moment brought yet another layer of horror.

Thankfully, when the ending of the book does come, the author does not spend pages and pages teasing the end. She finally tells us "who did it" in a crest of built up tension and it does not dissapoint. I actually said "wow, I never saw that one coming".

There are a few issues with the story though.

1- Two of the characters rent a car at the airport - mentioning that they paid cash. As far as I know, this is not possible as car rental companies demand a credit card on file, in case there is an issue when the car is returned. They also don't "get paid" ahead of time. Tiny detail, but it bugged me and this could have been avoided with a little more research.

2- The whole premise of the guys from the garage following them for $40.00 worth of stolen gas  is too over the top. I mean, come on, these two would suddently just close their business and head out, in a snowstorm, to find the 5 strangers who stole $40.00 worth of gas from them??? Yeah, not believeable.

3- Finally, the fact that Mira kept thinking about her "poor" mother, picturing her in a puddle of tears because it was her first Christmas without her twin, while commendable, was too much. I think the author repeats this about 5 times in the story and it got old very fast. In fact, it is the center of this story and why Mira got into a car with 4 strangers in the first place. It just all felt manipulative to me.

Otherwise, this was an amazing read that I could not put down, as I read in 3 days.

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