Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Book Review: Five Total Strangers

Big Library Read, facilitated by OverDrive, is a reading program through your library that connects readers around the world with the same ebook at the same time without any wait lists or holds. It’s a worldwide digital book club that everyone can take part in for free. The current Big Library Read is Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards. Read on for my thoughts on this book.

Publisher’s Synopsis

A “page-turning thriller that will keep readers guessing until the very end” (School Library Journal) about a road trip in a snowstorm that turns into bone-chilling disaster, from New York Times bestselling mystery author and “master of tension” (BCCB) Natalie D. Richards.

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?

My Thoughts

I’ve been listening to a ton of audiobooks lately, through Audible and Libby. For those of you that don’t know, Libby is an attractive app alternative for those of us that enjoy borrowing audiobooks from our local library. If you haven’t used it, I highly recommend that you do so. The most recent audiobook I borrowed through my library on the Libby app was Five Total Strangers, the current Big Library Read.

I love how Big Library Read makes it so there are an infinite number of ebooks and audiobooks available of the current selection. This is a huge benefit because normally popular books require waiting several days, weeks, or months to get. Being a Philadelphian, Five Total Strangers piqued my interest because the beginning of the book takes place at the Philadelphia airport. I always like books that are locally based because it makes them more relatable. As previously noted, I chose to go with the audiobook version. The narrator did a serviceable job. However, her voice was abrasive during moments of heightened emotion.

As far as the story goes, it was enjoyable enough. There weren’t any mind-blowing twists, but there was a certain level of mystery and intrigue throughout that kept me wondering how the plot was going to be resolved. The characters are unique with a decent amount of development. But the protagonist, Mira, is the most memorable, as she should be. I didn’t identify with Mira or feel completely invested in her well being. Instead, I felt more like a distant observer. Part of this could be attributed to the ho-hum narration, while the rest could be a result of the writing. I’m not sure. Either way, the bottom line is this: Five Total Stranger is just fine. It’s not worth buying or even a must-read book. But if you’ve got time to kill and you want to check it out, borrow it from your library in your preferred format. Above all else, keep reading!

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