• Selena | Beauty's Library

Survive the Night Review

I found this book made very little sense and was just infuriating to follow.


Rating: 2/5

It's November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana's in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.


Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it's guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it's to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she's named after, Charlie has her doubts. There's something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn't seem to want Charlie to see inside the car's trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she's sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie's suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?


What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse played out on night-shrouded roads and in neon-lit parking lots, during an age when the only call for help can be made on a pay phone and in a place where there's nowhere to run. In order to win, Charlie must do one thing--survive the night.

This book was such a disappointment for me! Right from the beginning, this one had a different vibe from Sager’s other books. And all the way through it didn’t get any better, in fact, it got worse. I found this book made very little sense and was just infuriating to follow.


I found this book made very little sense and was just infuriating to follow.

This one follows Charlie who’s looking to leave her university to escape the guilt she’s felt since her best friend and roommate was murdered. Looking to find someone willing to rideshare, Charlie meets Josh who’s also planning on leaving campus. However, shortly after they’re on the road, Charlie starts to find Josh suspicious and eventually comes to believe he’s a killer, the same killer who murdered her best friend. All she has to do is survive the night.


The premise in a way reminded me a bit of Taylor Adams’ No Exit. Mostly in the aspect of how the book is set up, we see the entire book played out over just a single night during a cold winter night. Plus the summary and early on in the book we see a major plot point. In No Exit, it was the girl locked in someone’s van. This one is the fact that Charlie is in the car with a potential serial killer. However, seeing this comparison, I will say Survive the Night doesn’t even hold a candle to No Exit. I enjoyed No Exit so much more than I enjoyed this one.


It’s mostly to do with our main character, Charlie. I found her to be so annoying. You know those characters that you just can’t help but yell at for doing stupid shit? This is Charlie. She was constantly doing dumb shit, she often would realize it, too, and still would do it. It made following this so much harder. I was rolling my eyes at every choice she made.


You know those characters that you just can’t help but yell at for doing stupid shit? This is Charlie.

Honestly, I only kept reading because Sager usually has a shocking end to his books with some really good plot twists sprinkled throughout and I wanted to see if that main twist would make up for the annoying main character. And while I didn’t see all the twists coming in this one, almost none of them did I find shocking. I honestly sighed at each one, like “Oh, we’re doing this now?” And that major “twist” was like really? It felt like Sager just threw that in there for the sake of throwing it in there. Massive eye roll.


And that brings me to our ending. The ending was my least favorite part and with how the book was set up with its chapters I was genuinely disappointed that I saw this coming from very early on in the book, but I was so hoping I was wrong. Nope, I was right and it was so aggravating. I don’t want to say too much otherwise I’ll spoil it, so if you’re curious about my thoughts keep reading at the end of my review!


The ending was my least favorite part and with how the book was set up with its chapters I was genuinely disappointed that I saw this coming from very early on in the book.

Overall, this was not a winner. I’m so disappointed in you, Sager! This was nowhere near on the same level as his previous books. This is the first book I’ve rated of his to be lower than 4 stars. I’d say this book was just one massive eye roll.


However, just because I didn’t like it, doesn’t mean you won’t either! I know several that did in fact enjoy this one! You might enjoy it too! I think if you like lighter thrillers with unlikeable and slightly unreliable characters, you might enjoy this one too.

Warning! Spoilers :)


Going back to the ending, from the start I noticed the book’s chapter titles were written like a script, each chapter starting as if it was a different scene. Once I caught on to this, I had the thought, “I hope this doesn’t end in a whole “psych, just kidding!” ending.” But when we finally got to the ending, I discovered I was practically spot on with that thought. Our main character, Charlie ends the book going over the movie she just watched pointing out what the movie embellished or changed to make her experience more interesting. Leaving me to think so what the hell was the truth?! It felt like a slap in the face. I didn’t like this choice in ending at all, I found this to be the most infuriating part of the book. And I thought there were several infuriating things about this one.