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TITLE: Final Girls
AUTHOR: Riley Sager
Overall: ★★★★★ (5)
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 Final Girl, 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.
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THE CRITICAL POINTS:
I don’t usually give a 5 out of 5 review, but this book was exceptional!!!
WARNING… SPOILER ALERT… WARNING… SPOILER ALERT… WARNING
WRITING: Final Girls is the first psychological thriller by Riley Sager, a pseudonym for an author who has previously published under another name. IF YOU KNOW HIS REAL NAME… PLEASE SHARE IT WITH ME!!! I’d love to check out some of his other novels.
Sager’s writing is detailed, descriptive, and draws you in while leaving you on the edge of your seat. Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading… this is one you are not going to want to put down!
STORY: WOW… It has been a very long time since I read a story that completely came full circle and left no plot holes, unanswered questions, or room to doubt the author’s choices. This was a beautifully constructed story with plot twists that leave you amazed.
The thing I loved best about this novel is that it is literally two stories in one… intertwined as if folded into each other. The numbered chapters are present day and the non-numbered chapters, marked with the time in which they related to ‘Pine Cottage’ a pivotal moment in our lead character’s life, are all past events. Sager beautifully merges these two-time periods to allow use to glimpse just enough of the past that we don’t figure out all the secrets the story has in store, until the perfect moment. There are hints and clues along with way, some leading you astray and others foreshadowing the future. I’m not going to lie, I had a ‘Sixth Sense’ moment there at the end wondering why I didn’t see it all along… the reason, because Sager is just that good!
CHARACTERS: Not only were our main characters Quincy, Sam, Coop, and Jeff flushed out to the point that we felt we knew them, even the side characters; Janelle, Craig, Betz, Amy, Rodney, and Lisa all had complete stories and character development.
APPEARANCE: The cover is simple, the back of a woman’s head – I assume it’s Quincy, our lead character, but it could just as easily be Lisa or Sam. The blood read lettering is perfect for the psychological thriller theme and the knife wounds that replace the I’s are perfect and well thought out. Congrats to the cover artist, who obviously understood the feel the author was going for.
MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
“You can’t change what’s happened. The only thing you can control is how you deal with it.”
“Final Girl is film-geek speak for the last woman standing at the end of a horror movie.”