By Riley Sager
Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Synopsis from Publisher:
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.
I have never really liked horror movies. Of course I went to the movie theater and saw all the Scream movies when I was in high school, but they just did not click for me. Not sure why since I obviously do not mind reading about murder, gore, and blood (see title of my blog). So when I read reviews that said Final Girls reads like a horror movie I was slightly put off, but I am so glad I got over it and gave Final Girls a chance.
The main character, Quincy is the sole survivor of a horrific mass murder. In addition to dealing with the guilt of surviving, she is thrust into a media storm and made a member of a club that has a terrible initiation process. Just when Quincy thinks she is moving on, a fellow club member shows up at her home unannounced. Sam’s arrival turns Quincy’s life into chaos and confusion. We follow Quincy as she tries to decipher friend from foe and deal with her past trauma that she thought she had already put behind her.
Sager does an awesome job casting doubt on Quincy, the fact that she cannot remember anything from that terrible night is cause for immediate suspicion. Actually, Sager does a great job casting doubt on all the characters. I truly could not figure out who the villain would be until the end of the book. While reading the book I switched back and forth between each of the characters casting each of them as the villain. Sager was able to set a tone of mistrust and fear throughout the ENTIRE book that kept me hooked until the very end.
The pace of the book is very fast which matches the city in which the story is based, NYC. The chapters are short and almost all of them end with a cliff hanger. The story is told from Quincy’s point of view with shorter chapters flashing back to the night that altered the course of her life. The chapters that tell the story of Quincy’s past focused on the relationships and the dynamics between her and her friends. They give a lot of insight into Quincy’ personality; I became much more familiar with Quincy during the flash back chapters than in the chapters telling the story of the present.
I found Quincy very relatable. We all have things we do not want to face and have blocked them from our mind. Hopefully these things are not as horrific as Quincy’s experiences, but we all have chapters in our lives we would like to stay closed.
On at least two occasions in the book took I notice of how Quincy describes pain. Emotional pain especially. Quincy describes pain with words like, stabbing, piercing, pushed. I do not want to give too much away, but it is as if that is the only way Quincy knows how to describe pain. To me it speaks to how much of that horrible night is engrained into her physique, while she claims she does not remember anything from that night.
Overall I found Final Girls fast paced, energetic, and entertaining. If you are in the mood for an “all-nighter” whether from fear or the inability to put the book down, take stab at Final Girls (pun intended).
Murder and Moore Rating:
4 ½ out of 5 Stars