I picked Final Girls as my July 2017 Book of the Month Selection and I was super excited about it. Of course then a bunch of books came in at the library so I had to push it back a bit, but I finally finished it a couple days ago. But this book seemed so Final Destination or Last House on the Left, I just couldn’t resist.
The funny thing is that I’m actually not great at watching horror movies, they scare me too much. So why am I so okay with reading books in the suspense genre? I suppose my own imagining of events taking place might be less gory or scary than letting a director decide that for me? Not sure.
Oh well, without further ado…
From the 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.
If Final Girls were a movie, it would open on Pine Cottage and that fateful night ten years earlier. Maybe I was comparing this one so much to a movie that I was a bit thrown when it starts off in present day and it all seems very vanilla. Literally, because Quincy, our heroine runs a baking blog and is little Susie Homemaker in her city apartment frosting and decorating cupcakes.
But I did appreciate how Sager slowly let bits and pieces of that night out (and Quincy actually is remembering those bits and pieces right along with the reader). Things are not as they seem, but are they ever in this genre? So bits and pieces of the past are revealed just as bits and pieces of the present are coming together for Quincy. Mysteries on both ends.
I actually expected the book to be a bit cheesy or campy (thing Scream Queens), but it actually wasn’t. For as horror centered as the book was, I didn’t find myself that scared. I was okay with that, because I’m a chicken, but I wonder if others might pick up this book hoping for a seriously scary read. Hence, the blurb Stephen King offered saying “The first great thriller of 2017 is here,” doesn’t ring super true to me.
Still, I did enjoy the book, there are good twists and turns and even if I saw some of them coming, it was still entertaining to watch the story unfold. Mainly, I’d say if the premise is interesting to you, pick it up. It holds up. My rating is 3 1/2 stars, which pretty closely aligns with the Goodreads rating of 3.89 stars. If it was a little scarier, I may have rated it higher, but I’d also probably have bad dreams.
I was also intrigued when I read that Riley Sager is a pseudonym for a previously published author. Any guesses as to who Riley is? I have a guess…