TW: Violence, Stalking, Death
I really like thrillers and mysteries. I do spend a lot of my time screaming internally (and occasionally out loud) about the horrible decisions that the characters make, though. And the characters in Natalie D. Richards’ Five Total Strangers make a lot of horrible decisions!
Mira, a high school senior, is desperate to get home for Christmas. Her aunt died a year earlier and she is very worried about her mom’s mental state.But when her plane lands, she finds that all flights out have been cancelled due to an impending winter storm. Her chatty seat-mate Harper manages to rent a car and invites Mira to join her and her “friends”, Josh, Kayla, and Brecken on a drive home.
Even though the roads aren’t bad when the group starts out, conditions quickly worsen, and they have to take dangerous alternative routes to get around major accidents. And it’s not just the road conditions that have Mira feeling unsafe – she can’t help but feel that one of her fellow travelers is watching her. Is one of her car-mates lying about who they are?
The suspense was great in this book! There were little hints dropped throughout that made it hard to trust anyone. Then there are the letters to Mira – they are so creepy! Richards was very good at building the suspense, but not giving too much away.
But the horrible decisions that these characters make drove me crazy! From the moment Mira accepted the ride, things continued to spiral out of control. I’m not even a mother, but I can tell you that no mother would rather their child put themself in harm’s way than miss a holiday or event. Mira is completely misguided in her logic, and she should have realized this was a bad idea when her friend was taken aback by her choice.
I look forward to reading more from Natalie D. Richards. If you enjoy insulting characters’ awful decisions, this is the book for you!