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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


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May 17 Daily Update
May 17 Daily Update
Karina Grokhovskaya, WTV Executive Producer • May 17, 2024

WTV's Ryan Shapiro, Karina Grokhovskaya, and Sadie Johnson bring you a few last words

Every Book Has a Silver Lining: Five Total Strangers

Christina Huang
In this weekly review, Every Book has a Silver Lining, staff reporter Christina Huang takes a look at books to find their silver lining.

Road trips seem better suited for a comical story of family bonding than a YA thriller such as Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards. For Mira Hayes, Christmas isn’t the happy time of year it might have been, with news of her mother’s divorce that was kept from her and the weight of an aunt’s passing heavy on her mind. Mira is determined to be there for her mother, so when her connecting flight is canceled due to a harsh blizzard, how could she refuse the offer of a free ride? 

But then the weather and the car ride reveal themselves to be worse than she thought. Riding with four college students, it’s quickly apparent that each has their own secrets. The only challenge is deciphering which are red herrings. After the big reveal, however, some of the secrets were answered vaguely at best, the existence of some characters seemingly added just to add suspects in the back of readers’ minds. 

Though Mira doesn’t discover this until the end, Richards begins writing letters in between chapters. Addressed to Mira, they’re from a mysterious, unknown sender showing signs of a dangerous obsession with her. They’re intriguing additions that make more sense as the story progresses. 

On the other hand, the sender’s identity (though not immediately obvious) wasn’t the most climactic, potentially due to the limited number of suspects. Although some readers found the pacing to be perfect, the beginning focused on setting the story up and starting to spread confusion, only to resolve the conflict fairly quickly. 

Richards’ Five Total Strangers was easily captivating for those who don’t mind frequent ‘petty’ arguments or predictability, put less of a priority on a connection with the characters, and don’t mind the usage of very convenient scenarios and plot devices that decrease believability. In short, the plot makes an intriguing story as long as readers take their personal tastes into consideration. 

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About the Contributor
Christina Huang
Christina Huang, Staff Reporter/Interactive Media Editor
Christina Huang is a sophomore in her first year officially with Wingspan. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the piano and viola, and finding/creating wallpapers for her phone which she will likely never use. She’s looking forward to the opportunity to better her writing and find the good in scorned books this year through her book blog: Every Book Has a Silver Lining. Contact Christina:

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