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.
Trigger Warnings: (Pretty Much Everything You Can Think of) Violence, Gore, Suicide, Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
This was sort of an odd book as far as what I was expecting goes, at first I was expecting an awesome horror/thriller about my favorite trope: the final girl! But then I saw all of the negative and “meh” reviews of it and going into it my expectations lowered drastically. So how did I feel about it in the end? Not as disappointed as I thought I was going to be but also not that impressed. I know. I’m just as confused as you are at this point.
First of all my biggest problem with the book was how slow it was, this is a thriller damnit! Thrill me! It’s very slow paced all the way up until the last quarter of the book, where things actually picked up significantly. The ending was hands down my favorite part of the book, it was fast paced and the twist really surprised me! I also liked that there were a couple of red herrings along the way too. So the ending and the twist were great and part of why I’m rating this a 3 instead of a 1 or 2.
As you probably already know from the blurb the focus of the story is around Quincy who, after surviving a massacre out in the woods at a cabin and becoming a “Final Girl”, has built herself a decent life with her baking blog and boyfriend. However, she finds out that fellow final girl Lisa has committed suicide and suddenly Sam, the mysterious final girl that stays out of the lime light, shows up on her doorstep.
So there are a lot of different questions I found myself asking, such as “what really happened to Lisa?”, “Why is Sam showing up now? What does she want?”, and “why can’t Quincy remember exactly what happened the night of the massacre?”. Those questions, along with some others, were the main reason I kept reading. It may have been slow but I yearned for answers to all of the questions that kept getting tossed my way while reading.
One aspect of the story that I both loved and hated was each of the final girl’s backstories, the horrors that they survived. That’s probably the thing I was looking forward to the most in this story, the horror bits. While I did find their backstories really interesting, I wanted more. We were only given a paragraph, maybe two, and that was it. It just wasn’t enough for me, if there would have been more about what these three women survived I probably would have rated this higher.
There were parts of the story that were told in Quincy’s past POV leading up to the murders and then during. These were honestly the best parts of the story and if the whole story would have been this POV (but longer, of course) I would have rated it much higher.
And the ending I already said I loved, because it really did shock me, but it didn’t make much sense. I was willing to forgive this for the most part because the twist was exciting but it just came out of nowhere and seemed to be shock for the sake of shock. The whole plot in general didn’t really make a lot of sense or flow too well either, hence the super slow pacing.
Aw, yes. The characters. I have to say probably my other least favorite part of this book and as fun as it is to not trust characters and their motives, I don’t like spending the duration of the book hating all of the characters just because they were genuinely unlikable characters.
Quincey has her fair share of character flaws which is understandable considering the ordeal she went through. She does tend to abuse the drugs she is on to help with her PTSD though and she is a terrible kleptomaniac. Quincey also makes a lot of questionable choices throughout the story…..and a lot of them are terrible choices too. Like “what are you doing? Don’t do that. Do you have any common sense?” types of terrible choices. She was just really hard to like. The same thing applied with Sam who is the only other character of note in the story for the most part.
I just didn’t really feel anything for any of the characters, they didn’t impress me.
What I Loved:
- Red Herrings/Misdirections were great
- Ending plot twist was good and un-predictable (for me personally)
- Past Quincy’s POV was super interesting, I wish the whole book was like that
- The backstories for the Final Girls (even though I’d have liked more)
What I Didn’t Love:
- Slow pacing
- Characters weren’t likable and didn’t develop much
- Quincy made loads of awful choices
- Not enough “final girl-ness” (if that makes sense?)/not enough horror
- Some parts of the story/plot didn’t flow well and felt like shock for shock’s sake a.k.a. didn’t make much sense
Do I recommend “Final Girls”? Not really.
Was it as great as it could have been? No.
Was it as bad as I thought it would be after reading negative review after negative review? No.
So that leaves me with a review and rating right down the middle, there was both good and bad. It just could have been so much better!