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Home » Books » Book Review: Book: Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards (Lots of Spoilers)

Book Review: Book: Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards (Lots of Spoilers)

Five Total Strangers by Natalie D Richards Book Cover

Warning: Lots of Spoilers

Short and Quick Review of the Book

Finished Rating: 3 out of 5

Recommended?: Maybe.

The book was exciting to read. But I can understand that it is not a book for everybody. If you’re looking for a thriller book and can’t decide what else to read, I’d say go for it.

Good Reads Scale

Review: I enjoyed the ride while reading it. But there are probably way too many unfinished loopholes to the story. Everything seemed to conveniently happen.

Overarching Themes and Tropes

Here’s some themes and tropes I noticed while reading.

Survival – Harsh weather conditions make it difficult for them to get home.

Stalker with a Crush – Stalker has known Mira for a while and likes her.

Hidden in Plain Sight – The stalker is in the car with everyone and sabotaging everything.

Red Herring – Yellow hat guy

Hurrying Home for the Holidays – This is during Christmas Time and all of them are just trying to get through the blizzard and get home for the holidays.

After Reading Book Questions:

What did you think of the writing style and content structure of the book?

Easy to read. Simple writing Style. I think most, if not all of the story is written in the present. So there’s not much flashback but just Mira recalling past events.

What did you like most about the book? What did you like the least?

Was fairly easy to read. Lots of stuff happened quickly like a thriller movie.

Did your opinion of this book change as you read it? How?

Bad stuff just kept happening really conveniently and it started feeling a bit cheap.

Which character or moment prompted the strongest emotional reaction for you? Why?

Was trying to deduct who was not the culprit. Kind of difficult to tell but the yellow hat guy I was very sure was a red herring and he was conveniently placed at different points of the book to try and distract the reader.

Did the characters seem believable to you? Did they remind you of anyone you know?

Pretty generic and stereotypical characters. Druggy ended up being abused by controlling her with drugs. 

What scene would you point out as the pivotal moment in the narrative? How did it make you feel?

When they killed Corey I had suspicions on Josh if he really needed the crutches.

What scene resonated with you most on a personal level? (Why? How did it make you feel?)

What surprised you most about the book? Why?

Didn’t explain the guy in the yellow hat. There was a good amount of attention toward him and the book just ends without really closing up details.

How did you feel about the ending? How might you change it?

The story ended fairly abruptly. The stuff that needed to happen, happened but I wish some details were explained.

How have the characters changed by the end of the book?

Many of the characters end up changing to survive the circumstances. Harsh cold weather, terrible driving conditions, crazy gas station workers and Mira’s stalker sabotaging everything really backed up the survival theme.

What do you think will happen next to the main characters?

They will probably just move on with their normal lives. Harper might become a normal girl instead of a rich girl due to her father’s situation. Kayla is probably gonna eventually OD and die.

Notes while Reading:

Characters

Mira – Painting

Harper – Rich girl, likes writing Christmas letters. Dad arrested.

Brecken – Rich Boy likes writing love letters to girls.

Kayla – Sickly girl who finds everything comical. Probably on drugs.

Josh – Injured with crutches, reads a lot.

Man in the Yellow Hat

Zari – Mira’s best friend

Gas Station Owner

Gas Station Son (Corey)

Mira’s Mother

Mira’s Stepfather

Aunt Phoebe

Mira’s Biological Father

Smitty – Guy at the bar who helps them with some cash, phone and drinks cause it’s Christmas

Joyce – Stern bar hostess

Random drunk guy in the bar

Setting: Pennsylvania, USA

Chapter Notes While Reading

Chapter 10

Mira loses her phone, Josh loses his book and Harper loses her wallet. Kayla and Brecken haven’t lost anything. Suspicious, everyone lost something. Another letter at the end of the chapter. He describes a painting of a coffee shop that Mira painted that resembles the time that they met at the coffee shop.

Chapter 11

Harper loves writing letters. Brecken likes writing love letters to girls.  Harper takes control of the car. Brecken Backseat Drives. Suspecting either Harper or Brecken or both as the stalkers.

Chapter 12

Mira Calls her real Dad to fill her in. Brecken loses his power bank. Mira realizes someone might be stealing from them.

Chapter 13

They all agree to open everyone’s bags to find the missing items. They open Bracken’s duffel and find Josh’s book at the bottom.

Chapter 14

They all agree that Brecken probably didn’t steal the stuff. They find out Kayla might be a junkie as well as some medical condition. They get back on the road but realize they might need to head back to where the gas station they stole gas from is to get back on the paved road.

Chapter 15

The group makes a pitstop somewhere to use the restroom. Mira contemplates running away from this weirdo group. She’s about to leave but she sees a truck coming towards them and realizes that it’s the gas station owner’s truck.

Chapter 16

The two gas station owners get out of the truck and confront the group. A fight breaks out as Josh is coming back to the car in his crutches. They get back into the car while the two gas station owners are struggling to get them out of the car. Brecken reverses the car while Josh has his hand on the wheel but they end up running over Corey’s leg and breaking it. The father gets in his car to grab what they think is a gun and they floor it and drive away.

Chapter 17

They look for their map and it’s missing. All their charging ports for their phones are also broken. They drive up about a half mile away to another building. Turns out it’s a bar. They are arguing and want to call the police. Brecken gets mad and thinks he’s going to end up getting blamed for all of this because he was the one behind the wheel. There’s a letter that appears again at the end of the chapter. The guy mentions he knows that Mira is still in high school but he’s still speaking in his creepy stalker tone.

Chapter 18

They get drinks in the bar. There’s a stern lady and a guy named Smitty who offers them drinks and cash and a phone. Harper calls the police and gives them a vague version of what happened. Brecken and Josh argue. Kayla seems like she really doesn’t want to get involved with the police cause she probably has something running through her veins.

Chapter 19

Mira follows Kayla to the bathroom where they have a chat. Mira finds out Kayla wears the medical bracelet that belonged to her brother who died 3 years ago. Kayla probably does drugs to numb her pain away. Kayla vaguely apologizes for everything to Mira.

Chapter 20

Story of Harper’s background. Her dad works at a financial company and got arrested. Brecken helped pay for half the rental car.

Chapter 21

They finally confront the guy in the yellow hat. He wants them to drive them but they said no. He says something like they’ll regret not helping him.

Chapter 22

Mira thinks about who might be after her. She kind of suspects everyone and is leaning towards Brecken. They stop to get a laptop to charge the phone battery.

Chapter 23

They are arguing about who is sabotaging everything. Mira goes into the car next to Harper and the laptop falls out and cracks on the floor. 

Chapter 24

They find a hunting knife behind Mira’s seat. Everyone starts pointing fingers at her while they are trying to figure out what’s going on. Kayla tells everyone that it’s hers and she stole it from the gas station for protection. Kayla mentions that Brecken shouldn’t assume she’s sleeping every time she closes her eyes. She overheard him on a phone call with someone.

Chapter 25

Brecken is apparently failing medical school and having a meltdown because his family is 5 generations of doctors and he will probably break that. Harper is driving and ends up driving into a ditch on the side of the road.

Chapter 29

It was Josh. Brecken kills him with a shovel to the head.

Chapter 30

Mira wakes up in hospital with her mom. Book ends without explaining the guy in the yellow hat.

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