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Brooke's Pick: Five Survive by Holly Jackson

Red Kenny is on a road trip for spring break with five friends, but 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.

It's a locked room (RV) mystery with a deadly twist. When a group of six friends head out from Pennsylvania in a RV to spend Spring Break in Gulf Shores, AL, they can't even begin to imagine what awaits them out there on the open road. No spoilers for this novel because it tells you right there in the title ... only "five survive." But who will live and who will die?

Red, who is grieving the loss of her mother five years earlier, is harboring a momentous secret, not to mention a ton of guilt for the role she played in her mom's death. She is hoping to forget her troubles on this epic Spring Break trip, but when her traveling entourage loses phone service and takes a wrong turn down a deserted road, their RV breaks down and they find their Spring Break plans going bust.

Red thinks things couldn't possibly get worse than being stranded in the middle of nowhere with no way to call for help, but then her group realizes that they are being shot at. A sniper has a target on their backs, and he won't let them go until one of them gives up the colossal secret they are hiding. But everyone is hiding something, right? So whose secret does the sniper want and why?

Holly Jackson has another hit on her hands with her new YA thriller Five Survive. Admittedly, I had a little difficulty getting into this book at the beginning, but once the plot picked up, this novel moved at breakneck speed toward its terrifying ending! I haven't experienced feeling so tense while reading a book in a long time - my stomach was in knots by the end. Jackson masterfully plays on the locked room plot device, trapping her characters in an RV, and pitting them against each other while not knowing if the real threat is outdoors or inside among them.

I love how quickly things began to unravel after everyone realized that they were going to have to give up their deepest, darkest secrets in order to survive the night. It soon becomes apparent that no one can be trusted. I never knew what was coming while reading this book, and so enjoyed the wild ride.

Recommended to fans of Karen McManus.

- Brooke, Public Relations Librarian


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