FINAL GIRLS, BY RILEY SAGER
PUBLICATION: DUTTON; JULY 11, 2017
About the book:
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 am so excited to bring you my review of Final Girls today! I’ve been dying to read this one and it absolutely did not disappoint!
The main character, Quincy Carpenter, is what the media calls “a final girl.” She earned that title being the only survivor of a brutal massacre ten years earlier while staying at a cabin in the woods, Pine Cottage. The other final girls are Lisa, who survived a sorority house massacre and Samantha, who survived a hotel attack by someone named “The Sack Man.” The media attempted to bring the three final girls together at various times over the years, but they have never met. Quincy did speak to Lisa on the phone but never met Samantha.
Quincy’s character displayed strength in the fact that she was living a somewhat normal life (as normal as possible taking several Xanax each day) living in a gorgeous NYC apartment with a wonderful man and maintaining a baking blog that had earned her several high-profile jobs. But then she receives an urgent message from Coop, the police officer that she found the night of the murders at Pine Cottage, and the one that shot and killed the attacker that was chasing her. When she meets Coop at their normal coffee shop, she learns that Lisa has been found dead, apparently from suicide.
I really liked Quincy’s character from the start, especially the way she had still managed to create a somewhat happy and successful life for herself despite the physical and emotional wounds incurred at Pine Cottage. Then again, it probably helped that she remembered almost nothing from that night. I also liked her live-in boyfriend, Jeff, although at times I felt like he tried too hard reminding and assuring her that she was normal and happy. Besides Jeff and the occasional chat with her mother, the only other person in her life was the cop that saved her, Coop. He checked in with her off and on and visited her a few times a year just to see how she was doing and to make sure that she didn’t need him for anything. Coop seemed to be Quincy’s rock that she could count on, and although he was very handsome, their relationship remained platonic as if he were a concerned big brother.
Things take a very strange and creepy turn when Sam (Samantha Boyd, a final girl) suddenly appears at Quincy’s apartment. Having “been off the grid” for years, no one knows much about Sam other than from her initial interview after “The Sack Man” murders. Sam’s character seemed very suspicious to me from the moment she entered Quincy’s life and there were little to no moments that I felt any trust or admiration for her character. Quincy begins to transform into a completely different character once Sam is around, and even more so after new information comes out about Lisa’s death.
Without giving anything away, I can say that every theory I developed while reading this novel was completely off-base. I would think I had figured things out, but then something else happened blowing my suspicions out of the water. Riley Sager created compelling and complex characters and weaved them into a story of endless layers of suspense. I love it when a suspense/thriller proves me wrong, but Final Girls did this several times as she peeled back more and more layers of the characters. I was floored by the outcome but in a fabulous way!
If I had to mention anything at all that I was not crazy about, it would have to be the sudden and extreme changes in Quincy after Sam came along. Some of it seemed almost absurd to me, however, it all created a great deal of tension just making me want to continue on to learn the outcome of everything.
Final Girls is full of deliciously complex characters that created endless twists and turns throughout this novel. Raw emotions, no matter how ugly, were consistently put on display just strengthening the creepy, uneasy feeling about all of the murders and the idea of being a final girl. This was an amazing novel that I will not soon forget. I look forward to more from author Riley Sager in the future.
*Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.