Book Review: Final Girls

Aug 17, 2017

When I heard about a new slasher flick type of novel coming out this summer, I was SOLD. It's literally my favorite movie genre. I needed Final Girls, and I needed it as soon as possible. Diving into this book started off on an exciting note, but I can't say I felt the same by the end of it. Oh, how disappointing! Here's a short summary from Goodreads:

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-fiancĂ©, 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.

Pros: Let me start by saying that this book was fun. There were a lot of twists and turns along the way. It was especially cool to try solving the mystery behind three girls connected by being survivors of separate massacres. The structure was very effective in creating suspense -- time jumps back and forth between present tense and the night of a particular massacre (dubbed as the Pine Cottage murders). The characters were troubled and somewhat complex, which always creates an interesting atmosphere. My favorite moments were during the flashback chapters of the Pine Cottage Murders. They were scary, intense, and revealing. That was when I found myself visualizing a 90's slasher film -- my favorite!

Cons: The end of this novel simply couldn't live up to the hype created in the intro. Though the ending has the most revelations among characters, it felt almost ridiculous. Characters began to sound cliche, flat, repetitive, and sometimes annoying. The final twists were on the outrageous side. And the ending wasn't satisfying -- I felt copped out, actually! The depth of characters and plot simply dissolved, leaving me with a bitterness inside. 

Overall: If you're looking for a horror novel with a depth of characters and true horror, this isn't the best choice. Final Girls is a fun mystery with cliche characters doing cliche things leading you to a cheesy finale (I guess that's exactly why it's reminiscent of a 90's slasher flick!). If you're interested in a semi-sleazy kind of horror novel, Final Girls might be the right pick for you.

Personal Rating Score: 3.5/5
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