Five Survive by Holly Jackson

The new YA thriller ‘Five Survive’ by bestselling author Holly Jackson. Image via Twitter @RHCBEducators.

New thriller from bestselling author Holly Jackson fails to shine

From the bestselling author of ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’ comes ‘Five Survive’ – a new young adult thriller which sadly falls short.

Five Survive by Holly Jackson

The new YA thriller ‘Five Survive’ by bestselling author Holly Jackson. Image via Twitter @RHCBEducators.

Author Holly Jackson is no newbie to the writing world. Her Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series made her a multimillion bestselling author all over the world. She is a #BookTok favourite and has amassed a huge following since her debut novel.

Her Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series is even going to be adapted to the big screen! According to Deadline, Moonage Pictures are set to adapt this New York Times bestseller into a TV series.

Despite the acclaim of Jackson’s previous work, her latest novel, Five Survive, fails to shine. With a predictable plot, odd storytelling, and one very weirdly familiar scene, Five Survive sadly just doesn’t hit the mark.

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Now, don’t get me wrong; I am a big Holly Jackson fan. Her A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series got me through the first lockdown and I wish I had her books around when I was a teenager.

The positives of her new thriller are the interesting characters and the Jackson-esque tense storyline which makes you devour this book in days. Jackson knows how to keep the reader hooked and Five Survive is no exception.

But the tension is broken by the predictable plot which makes the later twists in the novel less surprising. This breaks the pace and all the built-up tension breaks down, leaving the reader with a “Well, I called it”.

Jackson’s other books are so well-written and are all-around wonderful reads, which makes Five Survive so much more of a disappointment. It lacks the depth of her previous work. Jackson fans seem to agree as Five Survive is one of her lowest-rated books on Good Reads.

Image via Twitter @HoJay92

One particular issue I had with the book was that one scene was taken directly, almost word for word from the movie Good Will Hunting. If you haven’t seen the movie, maybe this scene won’t jump out at you so much, but it completely removed me from the novel and broke all the tension that Jackson was trying to build up.

All that said, I still enjoyed parts of this book. I would recommend this book to readers who are looking for a quick and easy YA thriller that you don’t have to focus on too much.


Eight hours. Six friends. One sniper…

Eighteen-year-old Red and her friends are on a road trip in an RV, heading to the beach for Spring Break. It’s a long drive but spirits are high until the RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere. There’s no phone reception and nobody around to help. And as the wheels are shot out, one by one, the friends realise that this is no accident.

There’s a sniper out there in the dark watching them and he knows exactly who they are. One of the groups has a secret that the sniper is willing to kill for.

A game of cat-and-mouse plays out as the group desperately tries to get help and work out which member of the group is the target. Buried secrets are forced to light in the cramped, claustrophobic setting of the RV, and tensions within the group will reach deadly levels. Not everyone will survive the night.


Holly Jackson was born in 1992 and grew up in the UK. She started writing stories at a young age and even completed her first book at age fifteen.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder was her debut novel and put her on the map as an incredible new YA author. Jackson has written several more installments in this series and her work is even going to be adapted to the big screen.

She lives in London and aside from reading and writing, she loves binge-playing video games.

Five Survive is published by Electric Monkey publishers and is available from Exclusive Books stores for R236.