Happy Monday!

Today, I want to talk about a book I finished reading right at the end of December. FIVE TOTAL STRANGERS by Natalie D. Richards was a suspenseful Christmas-time thriller, and was my last read of 2020.

We follow the 18-year old protagonist, Mira, as she struggles to get home to her mother in Pittsburg for the holiday. Marking the one year anniversary of her aunt’s death, Mira is frantic thinking that her mom will be alone, consumed by grief after the loss of her twin sister. But an out of control blizzard has grounded all the flights from Newark to her destination, and Mira is getting desperate.

When offered a ride by her seatmate on the plane, Harper, and three other college-aged travelers trying to get home for the holidays, Mira takes it. She’s under the impression that Harper knows the three others—Josh, Kayla, and Brecken—but soon realizes she is trapped in a car with complete strangers.

Throughout their journey, the five strangers are faced with a series of strange coincidences in which things go missing, equipment is tampered with, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that someone doesn’t want this group to get home. Even creepier, between some chapters are a series of increasingly unnerving letters addressed to Mira from someone in the car who is clearly obsessed with her.

I won’t spoil the ending because it really threw me for a loop and you should all experience that firsthand. I spent most of the book trying to guess who the stalker is, and I was completely wrong. This book was perfectly suspenseful, the twists were fun, and Mira’s relationship with her parents was so relatable—maybe a little too relatable for me, honestly. On Goodreads, I rated this book at 4 stars. It’s been a little over a week since I finished, and I stand by this rating for sure. This was the first book by Natalie Richards I’ve read and I really enjoyed it; I hope to read more of her work this year!


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