Survive the Night by Riley Sager (2021) Review

Survive the Night is all that and a bag of chips!

Why I picked up the book:

After losing her best friend to a brutal murder, Charlie decides to leave her college life behind and go home to heal. She feels like she can’t wait and arranges a ride with a stranger she met on the post board. This is the 90’s way before rideshare and cell phones; keep that in mind.

As the drive goes on and they exchange stories, Charlie starts to notice there is more to Josh than meets the eye and panics as she suspects she might be riding with the Campus Killer. Will she survive the night?

The book through my criteria lens:

Where to start? In my opinion, the narrative was flawless; every time it felt like the book would come to a standstill, Sager throws a curveball. Despite all the twists and turns, he managed to play fair to the end!

The character work was also outstanding; I felt that I got to know these people and like them. There isn’t a single person whose motivations I didn’t understand or thought acted out of character.

I ADORE the ’90s, so every time I hear a book is set in the last great decade, I will check it out. This book takes place basically over one night, on a road trip, but Sager NAILED the ’90s atmosphere and vibes! I don’t know how he did it, but I was so thrilled! It was in the way characters talked, acted, thought, referenced… Booyah!

Maybe I am fangirling, but Survive the Night checked all my boxes, and if you don’t like it, you can talk to the hand! (Just kidding, I love different opinions, I just wanted to use that slang).

My personal feelings:

Nothing I can say about Survive the Night will do it justice. It feels that with every Sager I read, I think that’s his best yet, but seriously THIS is Sager’s best novel so far. I kind of feel bad for him. It must have been so painful to wait so long to share this book with the world. Hopefully, his torture has an end date – June 29th.

The opening chapter is one of the strongest I have read in a long while, definitely in my top 10 of all times. I was hooked from the first word. Sager set the pace, and it never slowed down. The quote from All About Eve was eerily accurate, and I am glad I listened and fastened my seatbelt!

Survive the Night is a book that doesn’t take itself seriously on the surface: It’s a bit cheeky, and it pays homage to some of the best movies of all time. This book is heaven on earth to any movie buff! As an homage, it is a quilt of the most beloved tropes. In the hands of any other author, this would be a disaster. But what Sager achieve was a novel that, at its core, is tightly plotted, intentional, fast-paced, witty, intense, scary, vertigo-inducing (see what I did there?), and very interactive. I was literally talking to (okay, yelling at) Charlie through the whole book. I believed her, I doubted her, I was mad at her, I worried for her. When I finished reading the last word, I dropped the book started clapping as I thanked Sager out loud for such a fantastic experience. 

wonder if it will work

Enjoyability     10

Characters       10

Ambience        10

Fairness          10

Plot                  10

Execution        10

My total rating: 5

This book is mentioned in this video:


Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to Hodder & Stoughton, Riley Sager, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Survive the Night.

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

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