“Each girl survived an unthinkable horror. Now someone wants them dead…
They were the victims of separate massacres. Grouped together by the press, and dubbed the Final Girls, they are treated like something fresh out of a slasher movie.
When something terrible happens to Lisa, put-together Quincy and volatile Sam finally meet. Each one influences the other. Each one has dark secrets. And after the bloodstained fingers of the past reach into the present, each one will never be the same.”
I’ve had a copy of Final Girls sitting on my kindle for about four months now. After a spate of books that felt almost like a chore reading, I wanted something different and exciting that would kick start my reading mojo and so I decided to start Final Girls. Brilliant decision. This book has every component required to create my ideal book: unreliable female narrator, flashback narrative, unpredictable twists, gruesome massacres worthy of cult Hollywood status, and a plot so carefully planned out and intricately woven that the ending hit me right between the eyes.
Quincy Carpenter is a Final Girl. She is the sole survivor of the massacre at Pine Cottage when all of her teenage college-mates were slaughtered. 10 years later she has a career as a well loved Baking Blogger. In a loving relationship with Defence Lawyer Jeff, Quincy has put the events of her past behind her. Or so she thinks. She doesn’t actually have any memory of the fateful night in the woods and is becoming increasingly reliant on Xanax, but is keeping her life tightly sewn up until rough around the edges Sam comes along. Sam is another Final Girl, surviving the attack on the motel where she worked, from the man known as “Sack Man”. After the suicide of the first Final Girl, Lisa, who had previously survived a sorority house massacre where she lost nine of her sorority sisters, Sam seeks out Quincy so they can support each other. After all, no one can understand what it’s truly like to be a Final Girl apart from each other. The surprise arrival of Sam in Quincy’s life is about to send shock-waves reverberating through many lives. Both are hiding something, and both are determined to find out each other’s deep and darkest secrets.
There are two timelines running alongside each other, present day and flashbacks to Quincy’s time at Pine Cottage. This slowly drip feeds the reader little parts of the story piece by piece and builds up the suspense and anticipation. Narrated from Quincy’s point of view we are given her perspective on the killings, and the events happening presently, and her point of view isn’t always trustworthy. I did really like Quincy as a character, I could understand why she repressed her traumatic memories when others around her couldn’t. I think her choice of career as a Baking Blogger was interesting, almost as if she was trying to bake away with sugar all the bitter parts of her mind. I didn’t trust Sam from the minute she showed up, although her carefree attitude was almost enviable. The more the book went on the more layers of Sam’s personality were pulled back and I was really happy the way the story ended for her.
The planning and plot line was superb. I’ve read so many psychological thrillers of late that I feel they are all becoming samey, I can predict from a few chapters where the story is going. This did NOT happen with Final Girls! I had no idea where the story was leading, who to trust, and who to be suspicious of. All of my instincts were totally wrong, but looking back all the clues were there, hidden in plain sight. It’s not often an author can get to me like this, but Sager had my mind bending in all directions. There are a few twists through the story before the big one at the end, and whilst it turns the book on its head, it is a clever, clever ending.
This book made me feel like I was living Quincy’s life, I was there, I was a Final Girl. I was in Pine Cottage and I was terrified. I wouldn’t be surprised if this book becomes a movie very, very soon. Cannot praise this highly enough, overall rating five fabulous stars. After all that excitement I’m away for a Xanax washed down with Grape Soda (just like Quincy) 😉
Thanks to Riley Sager, Dutton Books and NetGalley for the advanced review copy.