Book Review: Final Girls by Riley Sager

32796253Title: Final Girls

Author: Riley Sager

Genre: Thrillers

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Final Girls is an intriguing psychological thriller about survival, evil and the strength it takes to live with the guilt of surviving when others did not.

Quincy is doing well, nowadays. Years ago, she went through the worst nightmare imaginable. All her friends got slaughtered in a cabin in the woods one night, and Quincy was the only one who survived. She doesn’t remember anything from that night, just bits and pieces, but it has still redefined her life. Now she spends most her time working on her food blog.

She barely even thought about Lisa. Lisa was the first girl they called a Final Girl, a title stolen from TV series and movies, a name for the last girl alive after a massacre. The only survivor. The Final Girl. Lisa offered help to Quincy back when she needed it the most, and Quincy has never forgotten. So when she hears Lisa passed away – a suicide, or so police think – she’s upset. And when Samantha, the other Final Girl, shows up on her doorstep, claiming to be worried about her, Quincy lets her in and they start to connect.

But the past won’t let go, and when it appears Lisa’s death was no suicide but murder, someone seems out to finish the work those butchers started all those years ago, and finish Samantha and Quincy off. But who can Quincy trust? And if the secret to the murderer’s identity is buried along with her own traumatizing memories of the night that ripped her life apart, can she find the strength to finally face the past?

This is a very suspenseful read, and the writing is excellent. Quincy is a well-developed character. She has plenty of flaws, and she still struggles with the past, but it all sounds very realistic. It’s normal Quincy is still struggling, it’s normal she still has survivor’s guilt. But she’s very strong, easy to relate to, and actually quite admirable. Samantha and Quincy develop a bit of an odd relationship as two Final Girls, but even that (which I imagine must be quite difficult to write) is written well, and in a believable way.

Now, the major downside (and what brought this from a 5 to 4 star read) is that I figured out who was behind it almost from the moment this person appeared in the book, and how it was all connected. It’s not too obvious, but I simply had a gut feeling and it turned out correct. Bummer, though, because that made the book less suspenseful than it would’ve been otherwise.

If you’re a fan of thrillers or slasher movies, I recommend you check this out.

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