…I never liked to watch scary movies because of the fake blood, the rubber knives, the characters who made decisions so stupid I guiltily thought they deserved to die.
Only what happened to us wasn’t a movie. It was real life. Our lives. The blood wasn’t fake. The knives were steel and nightmare-sharp. And those who died definitely didn’t deserve it.” -FINAL GIRLS
Confession: when it comes to slasher movies, I avoid them like the plague. I can handle psychological or crime thrillers, but total bloodbaths? Not so much. In a book, however, I love suspense and terror, and FINAL GIRLS was everything I want in a suspenseful, terrifying read.
FINAL GIRLS by Riley Sager centers around Quincy Carpenter, who is one of three women dubbed “Final Girls” by the media. The Final Girls–Quincy, Sam, and Lisa–earned the name because each was the sole survivor of a horror movie-scale massacre. Years later, with the help of medicine, a successful food blog, a loving boyfriend, and trauma-induced memory loss which leaves her unable to remember the details of the massacre, Quincy has a normal life. But when Lisa ends up dead and Sam shows up at her door, Quincy is forced to dive into the recesses of her mind to uncover the truth behind what happened to her.
This story is told through Quincy’s present-day narrative and flashbacks to the massacre she survived. The flashback chapters certainly feel like a classic horror flick. A bunch of college kids spend a fun weekend in a cabin in the woods until things take a nightmarish turn. In the present, everyone thinks Quincy’s life is normal, and even she believes it. When she meets Sam, however, Quincy realizes each day is a continued fight for survival. She fights hard, and the hardest fight of all is trying to remember everything she was happy to forget.
When reading thrillers, I don my detective hat and try to figure everything out. Though I guessed a few things in FINAL GIRLS, I was thrown off the trail many times, and I didn’t put the full truth together. At some point, I suspected every character of having devious intentions. Sager did an excellent job of keeping the truth disguised until the nail-biting conclusion. Out of the thrillers I’ve read this year, this one’s plot caught me by the most surprise. I was guessing, second guessing, even audibly gasping. I was totally hooked.
FINAL GIRLS is shocking, unexpected, and terrifyingly good. It combines classic horror with psychological and crime fiction to create a thrilling journey which is both familiar and fresh. This book is definitely for adults (due to language, violence, and sexual content), but it’s a must for your TBR. Love or hate slashers, you must see if you can survive this book and join the ranks of the Final Girls.
I’m more than a survivor… I’m his creation, forged from blood and pain and the cold steel of a blade.” -FINAL GIRLS