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The Only Survivors

A Novel


About The Book

From the New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and “master of suspense, Megan Miranda” (Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl), a thrilling mystery about a group of former classmates who reunite to mark the tenth anniversary of a tragic accident—only to have one of the survivors disappear, casting fear and suspicion on the original tragedy.

Seven hours in the past. Seven days in the present. Seven survivors remaining. Who would you save?

A decade ago, two vans filled with high school seniors on a school service trip crashed into a Tennessee ravine—a tragedy that claimed the lives of multiple classmates and teachers. The nine students who managed to escape the river that night were irrevocably changed. A year later, after one of the survivors dies by suicide on the anniversary of the crash, the rest of them make a pact: to come together each year to commemorate that terrible night.

To keep one another safe.
To hold one another accountable.
Or both.

Their annual meeting place, a house on the Outer Banks, has long been a refuge. But by the tenth anniversary, Cassidy Bent has worked to distance herself from the tragedy and from the other survivors. She’s changed her mobile number. She’s blocked the others’ email addresses. This year, she is determined to finally break ties once and for all. But on the day of the reunion, she receives a text with an obituary attached: another survivor is gone. Now they are seven—and Cassidy finds herself hurling back toward the group, wild with grief—and suspicion.

Almost immediately, something feels off this year. Cassidy is the first to notice when Amaya, the annual organizer, slips away, overwhelmed. This wouldn’t raise alarm except for the impending storm. Suddenly, they’re facing the threat of closed roads and surging waters…again. Then Amaya stops responding to her phone. After all they’ve been through, she wouldn’t willfully make them worry. Would she?

And—as they promised long ago—each survivor will do whatever he or she can do to save one another. Won’t they?

A propulsive and chilling locked-box mystery filled with the dazzling hairpin twists that are the author’s signature, The Only Survivors is New York Times bestselling author Megan Miranda’s best novel yet.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Only Survivors includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Cassidy Bent is one of the survivors of an accident that happened when she was eighteen years old—two vans carrying high school seniors to a volunteer trip veered off the road into a river in Tennessee. Nine people made it out alive. A year later, when one dies by suicide, the remaining survivors promise to meet up every year on the anniversary—so that none of them has to be alone. Ten years after the accident, Cassidy decides to skip the reunion so that she can finally move forward with her life.

When she gets a text from an unknown number notifying her that one of the survivors overdosed three months earlier, Cassidy’s guilt and curiosity force her to join the group in the Outer Banks for the annual reunion, where she senses that something is off. Then one of the survivors disappears and Cassidy tries to uncover the real reason that they have been brought back every year—something else is drawing them all together.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. This book comes at a time when true crime and societal fascination with tragic stories is at an all-time high. As a group, discuss the true crime phenomenon. What drives it? Has fiction contributed to this rise?

2. Thrillers often provide a chance for the readers to exercise their reasoning skills and guess twists and solve mysteries alongside the characters. Throughout this book, did you correctly guess any parts of the plot? Which parts did you not anticipate? Does trying to guess twists contribute to or take away from your reading experience?

3. Throughout the book, references to luck and fate reappear—Cassidy states that the survivor’s reunion house came down to luck (page 7), Amaya’s dad was fond of saying that their family made their own fate (page 40), and Russ asks Clara if she believes in fate (page 32). Do you think there’s a difference between luck and fate? If yes, which has the greater influence on the lives of the characters in this story—luck or fate?

4. Early in the story, we become aware of Cassidy’s reluctance to reunite with the survivors for the tenth year—she thinks that this is preventing her from moving on. If you were involved in a tragedy, would you choose to reunite with your fellow survivors annually? Do you think this would help your healing process or set you back, forcing you to deal with emotions you want to move on from?

5. Lies seem to beget more lies in this story. Trace the big lies, or moments where characters withheld the truth. What lie changed the course of the story? If Cassidy initially told the group that her standing in front of the bus caused the accident, would the events of the story differ greatly? What lies had the greatest snowball effect?

6. At the end of the story, Cassidy promises to “leave the past to the past, and never look back.” After the final scene, do you think “leaving the past to the past” is a good idea? Do you think the group would benefit from another reunion to deal with the new truth they have uncovered, or should they never speak about it again?

7. Consider the structure of The Only Survivors. How do the shifting time frames and point of views impact the story? While reading, did you think that Cassidy was a reliable narrator? Did you think any of the other POVs were ones to distrust?

8. The accident occurred when Cassidy and the other survivors were in high school—a pivotal time in all their lives as they were preparing to graduate and enter the “real world.” Do you think the accident severely altered the course of Cassidy’s life? Where do you think she would be if she never went on that trip? Can you imagine a vastly different life for any of the other characters?

9. Thrillers often have clues that are covertly dispersed throughout the story, leading to a satisfying ending that is not completely unexpected. What clues did you pick up on that related to the ending? Were you suspicious of Russ? Were your suspicions of any other characters unwarranted?

10. Guilt pervades this story as various characters feel guilty for their role in the accident and the aftermath—Amaya feels guilty because the trip was her idea; Cassidy feels guilty because she inadvertently caused the accident. How can these characters overcome their guilt?

11. The characters in this story seem to deal with a lot of the tragedies on their own instead of calling authorities or seeking other sources of professional help. What would happen if the characters involved the police? Do you think anyone deserves to serve prison time for their actions?

12. Though Russ was not directly involved in the accident, he also experienced a tragedy with the loss of his sister and the ways he and his family were neglected in the aftermath. Do you sympathize with Russ? To what extent are his actions justified? To what extent are they not?

13. The characters in this story cope with the accident in different ways. What are some of the healthier ways? What personalized advice would you give the remaining survivors, knowing all that has happened in the past ten years?

Enhance Your Book Club
1. Read more of Megan Miranda’s books! The Last to Vanish and Such a Quiet Place offer unique but similarly satisfying thrillers with a twist.

2. In the prologue, Cassidy mentions how she tried to disentangle herself in the hopes of becoming invisible and unreachable. She changes her number and goes off social media—and misses news of one of the survivor’s deaths. Cassidy gets a text from one of the survivors and soon discovers that she can’t actually disappear. With your group, discuss the pros and cons of disconnecting from social media and other forms of constant contact. Can you truly disconnect? What do you gain or lose?

3. Imagine that you are going to change the structure of this book. What POV would you tell the story from? Would you include more flashbacks to the accident ten years earlier or less?

4. Consider again the true crime podcast and television/film phenomenon that has increasingly captured audiences. What do you think about the moral implications of being entertained by real-life crime stories? Do you think fiction scratches the same true crime itch?

About The Author

Ashley Elston

Megan Miranda is the New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing GirlsThe Perfect StrangerThe Last House Guest, which was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, The Girl from Widow Hills, Such a Quiet Place, The Last to Vanish, and The Only Survivors. She has also written several books for young adults. She grew up in New Jersey, graduated from MIT, and lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children. Follow @MeganLMiranda on Twitter and Instagram, @AuthorMeganMiranda on Facebook, or visit

Product Details

  • Publisher: S&S/Marysue Rucci Books (April 11, 2023)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668010433

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Raves and Reviews

“Propulsive… the plot is first-rate, and Miranda expertly generates a steady thrum of anxiety.”

—New York Times Book Review

“Fans of Miranda’s previous works won’t be surprised by her skillful timing of twists and turns, but even longtime readers will appreciate just how tautly plotted this thriller is. She doesn’t just employ the use of alternate timelines and perspectives; she breaks the mold entirely, using mirrored settings, dynamics and secrets to both expose the errors of her characters’ past and highlight the effects of the allegiances they’ve formed. The result is a masterwork of craft artistry, so clever that you could almost read it twice—once for the plot and once to appreciate the technical acuity of its author. There’s always a tendency with writers of Megan Miranda’s caliber—those who never disappoint, never stagnate, never let you down—for readers to say that each new novel is their best yet. However, in the case of THE ONLY SURVIVORS, that statement is truer than ever.”

“Author of heartstopping titles like Such a Quiet Place and The Last to Vanish, Megan Miranda continues to shock readers with her latest lock-box mystery, The Only Survivors.

“One of the industry's most gripping voices in the thriller genre is back with another mystery that will keep you up well past your bedtime.”
—E! News: 12 Books to Add To Your Reading List in April

“In Miranda’s newest, old classmates get together ten years after a tragedy, but when one of them disappears, it calls into question everything the group thought it had already reckoned with. Miranda always delivers a gripping thriller.”

“A heart-pumping thriller... Set in the Outer Banks and full of Miranda’s signature ‘it could happen to you so easily’ tone, this one promises to have you sleeping with the lights on.”

“It would be hard to concoct a more promisingly sinister setting [that] affords plenty of hiding places for predators and plenty of opportunities for the weather itself to turn villainous. Miranda uses this setting to maximum effect, both as a plot device and as a way to inject steady droplets of terror into the narrative. Masterfully suspenseful.”
—Booklist (Starred Review)

In Miranda’s newest, old classmates get together ten years after a tragedy, but when one of them disappears, it calls into question everything the group thought it had already reckoned with. Miranda always delivers a gripping thriller.”


"This eerie thriller, in which the setting itself may be actively malevolent, can stand next to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Stephen King’s The Shining ... Expect shivers and lots of them."
Booklist (starred)


“Miranda, who makes the setting, where everyone knows one another and ends up fearing one another, all the more chilling for its seeming normality, is a master of misdirection and sudden plot twists, leading up to a wallop of an ending. A powerful, paranoid thriller.” – Booklist (Starred Review)

“A claustrophobic and suspenseful whodunit…that ponders the eternal question of how well we really know those closest to us.” – BookPage (Starred Review)


"Sleepwalking is creepy. You’re asleep, but you're walking through the night—like the living dead. I knew when I started The Girl from Widow Hills I was in for some shivers. But I had no idea the terrors that were in store.”—R. L. STINE, bestselling author of Goosebumps and Fear Street

“A hauntingly atmospheric and gorgeously written page-turner, The Girl from Widow Hills is a deeply thought-provoking, riveting mystery about the complex weight of history and the dangerous power of the lies we tell ourselves.”—KIMBERLY McCREIGHT, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia and A Good Marriage


“The perfect summer thriller . . . with a pace that made my heart race.” —Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Time I Lied

“Oh boy, does she ever know how to write a twisty-turny ending (or two, or more).” —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

“A lightning-fast mystery . . . that will have readers on the edge of their seats.”—MARY KUBICA, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl

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